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MILES. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION 



A HISTORY 



OF 



THE SALT UNION 

A RECORD OF 25 YEARS OF 
DISUNION AND DEPRECIATION 

Compiled from Official Reports, 
with an Introduction 

BY 

ALBERT F. CALVERT 

xO '"/., 



Xonoon : 

EFFINGHAM WILSON 

54, THREADNEEDLE STREET, E.G. 



. 4-3 



INTRODUCTION. 



IN a volume entitled The Story of Trusts, published in July 
of this year, M. E. Hirst says that " The Salt Union, formed 
in 1888 by the agreement of sixty-four firms, at first had 
a monopoly. During the early years of the Union it raised 
prices between four and five shillings a ton ; but this at once 
attracted competition, and the Union now controls less than 
fifty per cent, of the trade." To this lucid but inadequate 
description of a combine which was established with a capital of 
four million pounds, and which for the past quarter of a century 
has been the dominating and despotic factor of the English salt 
trade, I propose to add a few particulars that may be of interest 
to the commercial public. 

The Salt Union was formed in October, 1888, but the coming 
of the combination was foreshadowed in January of that year by 
the publication of the following paragraph in Falk's Salt Trade 
Circular : " The salt trade is at the most deadly crisis. Implacable 
competition among a small section of the largest makers has 
brought prices below all records, salt being freely offered at 50 per 
cent, below cost. All the large chemical contracts for 1888 have 
been taken at ruinous prices. Nor has there been any more 
extensive demand for the article below cost. The total export 
shown on annexed list proves a considerable decrease on the 
average. The principle of association has been violated again, 
and with more disastrous results than ever yet known. Nothing 
but a new form of general consolidation can resuscitate the trade." 

Various interviews and deliberations ensued and prepared 
the way for a meeting of salt proprietors, manufacturers and 
traders at the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, on Thursday, 5th July, 
1888, at which the following resolution was passed : 



vi. INTRODUCTION. 

" Resolved that each salt proprietor and manufacturer 
send in to Messrs. Fowler & Co. within one week from this 
date, the price which he binds himself to accept for his works, 
including land or leases, building, railway wagons, steamers, 
barges, flats, boats and all other effects, goodwill and 
business, specifying the sum in a Schedule, and that Messrs. 
Fowler & Co. appoint a valuer on the part of the purchaser 
to check and agree upon the amount if possible with the 
vendor." 

The draft form of agreement provided that the vendors agreed 
to sell and Robert Fowler agreed to purchase at the price fixed 
by the vendors, or at a price to be mutually agreed between the 
vendor and Mr. Thomas Ward, of Northwich, who was appointed 
valuer by Mr. Fowler. Mr. Ward had been for many years 
manager of the works of Mr. Charles Andrew McDowell, who 
traded in Northwich as Messrs. Nicholas Ashton & Sons. Mr. 
McDowell, who appears to have taken a prominent part in the 
formation of the Salt Union, signed the first of the sixty-four 
agreements by virtue of which the Union became the greatest 
salt proprietors in the world. The price given for the Ashton 
works was 115,000, of which 38,330 was payable in shares, and 
the agreement upon which the deal was concluded contained the 
following provision : 

" All salt manufactured at the Ashton Salt Works, 

Northwich, to be consigned for sale by the son of the vendor 

(William Samuel McDowell) at his office in Liverpool. A 

commision of 2^ per cent, to be paid him on his sales of every 

description of salt (with the customary allowance for weighing) 

except ' factory filled ' salt. A commission of 5 per cent, to 

be paid him on his sales of ' Ashton's factory filled ' salt, sold 

in the United States of America or elsewhere, such commission 

to be calculated on the nett proceeds of such sales." 

It will be seen that the 5 per cent, commission was only to be 

paid on the salt known as " Ashton's factory filled " salt, but Mr. 

McDowell's firm also received a further 5 per cent, for guaranteeing 



INTRODUCTION. vii. 

the payments of the New York agents, thus making a total 
commission of 10 per cent, as against the 2\ per cent, paid to the 
other distributors. 

I am stressing Mr. McDowell's connection with the Salt Union, 
because his attitude towards the combination was something of 
a mystery. The exceptionally favourable terms he received as a 
distributor never tempered the violence of his criticism of the 
policy and management of the Board. It would appear possible 
that he participated in the promotion profits, since, while he 
received 115,000 for his business, of which the Company had the 
right to pay 38,330 in shares, he told the shareholders on the 
6th August, 1891, that the holding of himself and his children 
in the Union amounted to 145,200. According to the Salt Union 
agreement, it would appear that the sum of 240,000 was payable 
to Mr. Robert Fowler as promoter, and therefore I have felt it 
safer to accept that figure rather than the larger sum I had arrived 
at by a process of deducting the price received by the original 
vendors and the total sum paid by the Salt Union. 

Notwithstanding Mr. McDowell's large holding, and his 
preferential commission terms, he attacked the policy of the Union 
at every opportunity. After his death in 1897, his son, Mr. W. 
S. McDowell, continued to prosecute the campaign, and 
eventually, by forcing the Board to sanction the formation of 
a shareholders' committee, he succeeded in getting the old 
directors turned out, and new directors, nominated by himself, 
installed in their places. In January, 1895, a scheme had been put 
forward for terminating the Union's liabilities for commissions, 
etc., under the agreement of which Ashton's Works had been 
acquired, but in view of the anticipated resistance of Mr. McDowell, 
the scheme was not persevered with. Indeed, Mr. McDowell was 
vigorously complaining of the Board's policy in encouraging the 
sales of unbranded varieties of salts to distributors, instead of 
protecting Ashton's special produce on which the heavy com- 
missions were payable. 

It would seem that a bad bargain had been made by the Salt 



viii. INTRODUCTION. 

Union with Mr. McDowell in the first place, and they could not 
repudiate or revise their agreements. By October, 1899, the 
question of Ashton's works had become a sore point with the Board, 
and persons in authority had unsuccessfully exerted every effort to 
have them closed down. But any proposal for closing portions of 
the works had invariably provoked a bitter attack on the directors 
by Mr. McDowell, who had his special provision in the agreement 
to protect, and as the Board, after 1898, was nominated by Mr. 
W. S. McDowell, it is not uncharitable to assume that the question 
was not debated in a spirit of impartiality. Owing to the sub- 
sidence, much money had had to be spent to keep the works in a state 
of repair, and the fact that thousands of pounds had been expended 
on far less profitable properties did not affect the situation. In 
1901 a portion of the works was so seriously affected by subsidence 
that pressure was put upon the Board to spend the further 
necessary money to have them removed to firmer ground, and 
efforts were made to secure American orders to justify the outlay. 
In May, of that year, however, the sinking was proceeding at a 
rate that constituted a risk to life ; work at the mill was con- 
sequently stopped and nearly the whole of the works were 
dismantled. In the return for 1913, Messrs. W. S. and Charles 
McDowell held only 126 ordinary shares between them. 

Let me return from this brief consideration of the men who 
proved for many years such a consistent thorn in the flesh of the 
Salt Union directorate, to the affairs of the combination itself. 
Its formation was heralded with many flourishes of trumpets and 
much banging of big drums, and in the general uproar the warning 
voice of The Times was unheard or unheeded. By controlling 
production the Salt Union thought to obtain a monopoly of salt 
and raise the price at will, but as The Times sapiently commented : 
" The syndicate has not acquired the control of all the mines or 
works at which salt is produced, and unless and until they do 
this they will not have an absolute monopoly. The firms that 
keep clear of the combination will thus be enabled to undersell the 
syndicate by a sufficient margin of price to enable them to get a 



INTRODUCTION. ix. 

leading place in the market, so far as price can give that position 
.... Again, unless the syndicate obtains absolute possession of 
or control over every inch of ground where salt can be got, the 
almost certain result of the combination will be to bring into 
existence a number of ' small fry ' which would not otherwise 
come into being, and the resources of production will thereby, in 
all probability, be increased far beyond what they are now, thus 
defeating one of the primary objects of the movement, which is 
that of curtailing supply and creating an artificial scarcity." 

On September 27th, 1888, The Times announced that the Salt 
Union had bought the various properties on the terms proposed, 
namely, two-thirds of the purchase money in cash and one-third 
in shares, and added " the principle on which the valuation was 
made has not come out, but it is generally known that the selling 
price has been quite satisfactory to the vendors." 

The truth of The Times' forecast of the disappointment in 
store for the shareholders of the Union has come out in the 
sequence of loss and misfortunes that had consistently dogged the 
footsteps of the combination, but the principle on which the 
valuation was made has been kept a closer secret. It is time that 
some light was thrown on the valuation which the vendors found 
so satisfactory, and on the finance of the Union generally. The 
purchase price for the properties secured by the series of sixty- 
four agreements of which the chairman in 1896 said that " Never 
were covenants so ingeniously framed as to cause law suits plus 
the sum I take to have been appropriated for promotion profits, 
was 3,704,519. If we omit for the moment the 600,000 paid 
for Mr. Corbett's work in Worcestershire, and deduct the promoter's 
profit of 240,000, the balance of the purchase price was 2,864,519. 
Out of the sixty- four properties I have made a selection of 
thirty-two, and from the thirty-two agreements relating to them 
I find that the purchase price paid to the original vendors was 
1,555,119. 

Of the properties that were acquired for this sum, I estimate 
the loss that has since been suffered by sale, depreciation or 



x. INTRODUCTION. 

dismantlement amounts to no less than 1,068,700. These 
figures are arrived at as follows : 

Amount paid by 
Salt Union. 

i 
20 Properties dismantled . . . . . . . . 276,450 

8 Properties transferred to Brunner, Mond & Co. . . 372,250 

Estimated proportion of money paid for Properties 

partly dismantled . . . . . . . . . . 320,000 



^1,068,700 

This shows a deficiency of 1,068,700 on the thirty-two 
properties purchased for 1,555,119, and I do not estimate that 
the remainder of these properties, included in the purchase and 
still owned by the Salt Union, are worth the balance of 486,419. 
Indeed, I am satisfied that _ they are worth nothing like that sum. 
And if the half of the promotion profit is taken into consideration 
it will be seen that a commission of something like 120,000 was 
paid on properties which have involved the Union in a loss of 
1,068,700. 

As my figures may inspire incredulity, and the accuracy of 
them may be challenged, I have anticipated criticism by publishing 
a list which shows how they have been arrived at. 

The manner in which the Salt Union conducted the purchase of 
their properties provides one of the most amazing instances of 
reckless optimism in the history of comparatively modern finance. 
It is difficult to understand by what principle or system the 
promoters of the Union were guided in making their investments. 

It is true that a valuation was made for the promoters by the 
late Thomas Ward, and his deep interest in the salt trade and his 
loyal faith in the resuscitating powers of the Salt Union made 
him, as I think, place far too high a value on the works under 
offer to them. But Mr. Ward's valuation was far exceeded by the 
prices actually paid for the properties by the Salt Union, as the 
following instances will show : 



INTRODUCTION. 







Price paid by the 




Mr. Ward's 


Promoters and sold 


Works Purchased. 


Valuation. 


to the Union at a 






further enhanced 






price. 







i 


THOMAS HIGGIN & Co. 


36,000 


102,150 


JOHN THOMPSON 


28,000 


40,000 


JOSEPH VERDIN & SONS 


475,000 


630,000 


STUBBS BROS. 


1 20,000 


231,000 


W. & R. HICKSON 


20,500 


34,500 


WILLIAM HICKSON 


2 1 ,000 


38,000 


R. SEDDON & SONS 


3,000 


9,750 




703,500 


^1,085,400 



It will be seen that in the purchase of these seven properties, 
the difference between the value put upon them by the valuer 
appointed by the promoters and the price at which they were 
acquired by the promoters of the Salt Union, was 381,900, and 
this sum does not include the profit added by the promoters. 
According to the agreements it would appear the price payable 
for the several properties was 3,464,519 (although I am unable 
to arrive at those figures), and these were transferred to the 
Salt Union for 3,704,519, and, looking at the whole business in 
the most favourable light, the price was in my opinion at least 
2,000,000 more than they were worth. Out of the sixty-four 
properties acquired many have been lost to the Union, while other 
works have been closed down because they could no longer be 
worked at a profit. A striking illustration of the loss of trade is 
to be seen in the parish of Over at Winsford. In 1888, when 
the Salt Union was formed, there were 244 pans at work in this 
parish. To-day the number of pans has been reduced to 90, of 
which only 48 are working, and, as far as I can trace, the whole 
of the reduction is on properties acquired by the Salt Union at 
inflated prices. 



xii. INTRODUCTION. 

I have shown that the purchase consideration payable by the 
Salt Union was 3,704,519, but in addition to this sum the 
original directors were landed with all sorts of obligations and 
liabilities in the shape of commissions on the sale of salt made at 
the various works acquired by the Union. 

The purchase of the Stoke Prior Works in Worcestershire has 
since occasioned the Salt Union much trouble and litigation, for, 
in consequence of the great haste with which the arrangement 
between the promoters and Mr. John Corbett was rushed through 
in order that the property might be included in the prospectus, 
points were left open which subsequently became the subject of 
constant disputes. The Salt Union ultimately brought an action 
against Mr. Corbett for the purpose of deciphering the meaning 
of the agreement, and, in the end, the Salt Union paid Mr. Corbett 
a further sum of 60,000, in addition to the 600,000 which they 
paid in the first instance. Even the payment of this large 
additional sum did not give the Salt Union the perpetual owner- 
ship of the brands, etc., as, under his agreement, Mr. Corbett 
reserved the right to start manufacturing salt again himself at 
the expiration of thirty years, and not only has he that right, but 
all the brands, trade marks, etc., he disposed of are to be handed 
back to him at the expiration of that time. 

In the course of the proceedings it transpired that when the 
Company was floated no proper agreement was made between 
either the promoter or the Company and Mr. Corbett, although 
the contract was set out in the prospectus, and Mr. Corbett was 
to join the Board after allotment. The only document upon 
which the promoter acted was a letter signed by Mr. Corbett. 
This was dated the 5th October, 1888, and the Company was 
issued to the public three days later. The judge, in the course 
of the case, said he was not satisfied that the Company had 
power to alter the terms of that document, nor was he satisfied 
that there was any representation in the prospectus of a concluded 
agreement between the Company and Mr. Corbett. Mr. Justice 
Kekewich alluded to the document which purported to be a 



INTRODUCTION. xiii. 

contract, as a marvellous production. He contended that it did 
not contain a line where accuracy was required which did not 
contain a great inaccuracy, and remarked that he did not know 
how anybody could have been so foolish as to sign such a thing. 
From the report of these proceedings it would appear that the 
Attorney General, who appeared for the Salt Union, stated that 
the Stoke Prior Works belonging to Mr. Corbett had been 
reported upon by Mr. Thomas Ward before the prospectus was 
issued, but that statement was incorrect. Mr. Ward did not 
visit these works for the purpose of valuation until after the 
purchase, and then to use his own words, he valued them in the 
most liberal terms, and fixed the price at 268,000, to which he 
added 100,000 for goodwill, and 32,000 for retaining fees, 
bringing the total up to 400,000. It is not my intention to 
criticise the acquisition of the Stoke Prior Works in any way, 
and I think it is possible that they were one of the best bargains 
the Salt Union made, but even here it will be seen that they paid 
200,000 more than Mr. Ward valued them at, and still, owing 
to the absurd agreement into which they entered, they left 
themselves open to litigation which landed them in the payment 
of a further sum of 60,000. 

The whole course of the negotiations reveal Mr. Corbett as an 
extremely astute man of business. In the first place he sold his 
property at the very top of the market and placed a time limit on 
the transaction. He stipulated to be appointed a director of the 
Salt Union at a salary of 1,000 per annum, and the discussions of 
the business of the works he had sold to the Union, came before the 
Board of which he was a member. He resigned his directorship 
in 1891, but continued to act as General Manager of the 
Worcestershire area until after the action was commenced against 
him by the Salt Union in July, 1892. The matter was not finally 
disposed of by the Court until April, 1894, and in the course of it 
he was quick to seize upon a slip in one of the agreements in 
which the Union were described as acquiring his works for only 
five years instead of thirty. If Mr. Corbett had succeeded in 



xiv. INTRODUCTION. 

maintaining this point, his transaction would have proved 
something like a record bad bargain for the unhappy Salt Union. 

Yet another instance of the extremely liberal manner in which 
the Salt Union dealt with the vendors of the originally-acquired 
properties was furnished by the settlement in 1907 of the action 
between the Union and Messrs. Brunner, Mond. In this case the 
Salt Union transferred about 350 acres of their Northwich salt 
lands to Messrs. Brunner, Mond for a sum of 125,000, and as each 
side paid the costs of the protracted litigation, this sum would 
necessarily be much reduced. The chairman announced the 
terms of the settlement with peculiar satisfaction that seems to 
have been scarcely justified in view of the fact that the properties 
which they sold for 125,000 cost the Salt Union, so far as I have 
been able to trace the figures, something like 372,000. I am 
not suggesting that the Salt Union were wrong to come to this 
arrangement ; it is even possible that they made a good bargain, 
but the loss they sustained on the properties they transferred, 
gives some idea of the extravagant prices at which they had 
acquired them in the first place. 

The misfortune attending the career of the Salt Union has been 
continuous and complete. The attempt to command the English 
salt deposits and control the trade has been unsuccessfully 
persevered with for twenty-five years, and to-day, apart from the 
fact that a number of outside firms are producing and selling 
salt, the dominating influence in the salt lands has been usurped 
by the firm of Brunner, Mond & Co. The power of this chemical 
concern does not seriously jeopardise the status of the Salt Union, 
as the two firms have arrived at an understanding whereby the 
Salt Union is pledged to discourage the attempt of any other 
chemical firm from manufacturing alkali in Cheshire, and Messrs. 
Brunner, Mond & Co. on their side, have undertaken not to assist 
any person or firms who desire to make salt in the district. 
These two firms between them have locked up 25,000 acres of 
salt-bearing land in Cheshire, of which they are working only a 
small proportion an arrangement which I believe could not be 



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xvi. INTRODUCTION. 

justified by law, as it is clearly a form of conspiracy which comes 
under the heading of " restraint of trade." 

In a petition they presented to a special Parliamentary 
Committee, Messrs. Brunner, Mond declared themselves in favour 
of freedom of trade, yet this firm and the Salt Union opposed 
the Widnes Brine Bill because the conveyance of brine from 
Cheshire to Lancashire would benefit the alkali manufacturers 
of Widnes, while they as strenuously opposed a clause in the Brine 
Pumping (Cheshire) Bill to restrict, to three hundred million 
gallons per annum, the conveyance of brine from Northwich to 
Weston Point, because their own interests were located in the latter 
place. The Cheshire Bill of 1912 was thrown out because it was 
regarded as a measure " in restraint of trade," yet freedom of 
trade was never more defiantly flaunted than in the opposition 
made to the Widnes Bill. Further, when last year the Salt Union 
(or the North Western Salt Company) sought to recover damages 
from a chemical firm, the fresh case failed on the ground that the 
conditions existing between the parties at the time the agreement 
was made constituted a restraint of trade, and was therefore 
illegal. In view of the fact that the present Government hesitate 
to enforce their rights against Messrs. Brunner, Mond, it might be 
possible to obtain justice by testing the legality of the various 
agreements by which the salt lands are withheld from competitive 
industrial enterprise. Weaker actions have been tested on the 
ground of restraint of trade, and in the face of such findings it 
is difficult to see how an action on those lines could fail. By 
remaining quiescent on a question of fact that would materially 
enhance the values of those salt areas for revenue purposes, the 
Government lend colour to the suspicion that they dare not act 
against the interests of those powerful monopolists. 

Another illustration of the manner in which the Salt Union 
treat people who have the temerity to enter into competition with 
them is seen at Droitwich, where they have been so successful in 
tying up the land that they have a practical monopoly of the 
salt manufacture of the district. When one firm, Messrs. J. P. 



INTRODUCTION. xvii. 

Harvey & Co., laid a pipe by which they could convey brine 
from their pumps to the works, the Salt Union commenced 
proceedings and obtained an injunction against its use. On what 
grounds they succeeded I am unable to understand, and I am still 
of opinion that, if fought out, the injunction they got would have 
been dismissed. On January 6th, 1910, the Borough of Droitwich 
sent a deputation to the chairman of the Salt Union with the 
request that he would grant their traders the right to lay pipes, 
for the conveyance of brine, along the streets of the Borough. 
The interview was a mere farce since it was evident that the Salt 
Union had no intention of making any such concession. The 
chairman, however, propounded numerous arguments to give a 
semblance of fairness to the Union's objections, and assured the 
deputation that salt making did not pay and people who embarked 
in the industry would only lose their money. In the end, a 
member of the deputation declared that the Salt Union held the 
key of the situation and could damn or make the place at will. 
To which the chairman of the Salt Union replied, " I do not think 
I could damn it better than by encouraging more salt making 
here ! " A weird and wonderful assertion to make to a deputation 
from a town whose staple industry for hundreds of years had been 
the making of salt ! 

In this way the Salt Union have succeeded in preventing 
competitors from making salt in Worcestershire, for, while they 
have miles of their own pipes in Cheshire, they have reserved to 
themselves such powers that the town of Droitwich are unable to 
grant facilities to persons to carry brine in pipes either under or 
over the public thoroughfares. From the interview which the Town 
Council's deputation had with the chairman of the Union in 1910, 
it is evident that the people of Droitwich would be only wasting 
their time in reopening negotiations on the question of the 
conveyance of brine, unless they are prepared to fight for their 
rights, if necessary, up to the House of Lords. If this course is 
inexpedient, they would be well advised to leave the Salt Union 
out of their consideration until the year 1918, when the rights of 



xviii INTRODUCTION. 

the Union in the district practically cease, and the Corbett 
Trustees will be free, under their agreement, to deal with their 
various lands as they may think right and proper. 

The whole question of the salt-making industry of Droitwich 
after 1918 will be in the hands of the Corbett Trustees, and it will 
be for them to consider whether they will allow people to go on 
making salt as before. Of course it is quite possible that the 
Salt Union may be prepared to make a further handsome payment, 
and get an extension or renewal of those binding clauses, but it is 
difficult to believe that the Trustees of the Corbett estate, who 
have derived so much benefit from Droitwich, will be willing to 
consider any further terms which would continue to restrict the old 
industry of the town. 

In Middlewich the Salt Union adopted similar tactics in dealing 
with competitive undertakings. Messrs. Henry Seddon & Sons, 
Ltd., salt proprietors of that town, entered into an agreement 
with the North Staffordshire Railway Co., who granted them 
permission to lay a brine pipe from one set of works in Middlewich 
to another. Both these works were situated on the Trent and 
Mersey Canal, controlled by the North Staffordshire Co., and the 
pipe to convey the brine was laid on the towing path of the Canal. 
As a result of the pressure exercised by the Salt Union, the Railway 
Co. gave notice to Messrs. Seddon in April, 1905, terminating their 
agreement. When Messrs. Seddon declined to take up their 
pipes, the Salt Union sent men to break one of the pipes, but 
Messrs. Seddon 's men met and dispersed the intruders. On 
another occasion Union men succeeded, in the early morning, in 
destroying the pipe, and the Salt Union eventually took legal 
proceedings and compelled Messrs. Seddon to abandon their pipe- 
laying operations. 

During the present month of October, 1913, 1 have encountered 
another instance of Salt Union tactics in connection with some 
new salt works which are being erected on the banks of the same 
Canal, where, in order to put up new plant, some buildings, 
erected in the year 1799, were pulled down. They had not been 



INTRODUCTION. xix 

down for more than a fortnight when three prominent officials 
of the Salt Union, including one of the directors, arrived on the 
scene and made an inspection of the property. Two days later, 
in the absence of the manager, the engineer and other officials 
of the Trent and Mersey Canal visited the property, and, claiming 
that a portion of the ground belonged to them, pegged out the 
land to which they declared themselves entitled. As, however, 
the pegs were placed in the centre of a site which had been covered 
by buildings for over a hundred years, the validity of the claim 
would be difficult to substantiate. The manager, acting upon 
advice, pulled up the pegs and threw them off the property, and 
he was further instructed to do the same with any other officials 
who came on the same errand. I believe some sort of apology 
was tendered by the officials of the Railway Co. controlling this 
Canal, but it is not the less an outrage that people should be 
subjected to this high-handed and illegal treatment. 

With regard to the question of subsidence, the Salt Union and 
other salt makers have fulminated vehemently against the 
various Bills promoted by the local authorities, but one has 
only to see the enormous damage done to property in Northwich 
by the pumping of brine and working of salt, to make one 
sympathise with the local people, and wonder why they were 
compelled to spend thousands of pounds and devote years of labour 
to obtain a measure of compensation, which even now, appears 
to me to be quite inadequate. As a result of this unrestricted 
pumping, houses and streets are falling in, and the new houses 
are being built on frames in order that they can be raised when 
any portion sinks owing to subsidence. In fact, the town of 
Northwich is rendered a very uninviting place in consequence of 
its instability, and the people of the district do not get the benefits 
from the industry which is ruining their town. If the brine 
raised were manufactured on the spot, it would, of course, 
employ a certain number oj: people, but, as a matter of fact, only 
a very small quantity of salt is now being made in Northwich. 
In order to show that no assistance was given by the salt 



xx. INTRODUCTION. 

makers to the people who were seeking, by friendly means, to 
obtain reasonable compensation for the damage done, I would 
point out that the local committees approached the Salt Chamber 
of Commerce at Northwich with a view to obtaining an interview 
to discuss the matter. On Qth March, 1880, a meeting of the 
Salt Chamber of Commerce was held, and the Secretary was 
instructed to send a copy of the following resolution to the local 
committees : 

" That the salt trade, considering that the question of 
compensation for subsidence is wholly without the limits of 
practical treatment, must decline to receive a deputation on 
the subject." 

That resolution appears to be of such interest that it is worth 
placing on record. Of course there are hundreds of other letters 
and references of great interest, but these may be left for detailed 
consideration to the time when the history of the whole business 
comes to be written. 

The fact that one of the reasons for throwing out the old 
directors was that, in such a large Company, their total 
shareholdings only amounted to 33,540, prompted me to 
ascertain the capital qualifications of the present directors, and, 
in the return filed by the Company on 28th March, 1913, I find 
the total holding of the six directors comprises 600 preference 
shares and 1,835 ordinary shares, the whole of which would 
realise, at the outside, on the market to-day 1,887 175. It is 
possible that one or more of these directors may hold some 
debentures, but I have not been able to trace them. 

The chairman of the Company is returned as being the holder 
of twenty preference shares and 230 ordinary shares, the whole of 
which at current market prices would realise 126 55. Since this 
return was made, two servants of the Company have been added 
to the Board, viz., Messrs. Clark and Malcolm ; Mr. Clark in 
March last held thirty preference shares and Mr. Malcolm held 
neither preference nor ordinary shares. 

Under the Articles of Association of the Salt Union the 



INTRODUCTION. 



qualification of every director was the holding in his own right of 
shares or stock of the Company of the nominal value of 1,000. 
Therefore it will be seen that it is not a very difficult matter for 
these new directors to qualify themselves, as the 4 ordinary 
shares can be purchased in the market to-day at 75. 6d., and it 
would only cost these gentlemen 93 155. to comply with the 
qualification clause under the Company's constitution. 

I think it is of sufficient interest to add the following table 
showing the holdings of the several directors : 

From Return Filed by Company, 28th March, 1913. 



Director. 


Preference 
Shares. 


Ordinary 
Shares. 


Total value at 
market price, 
October, 1913. 


G. H. Cox (Chairman) 


20 


230 


i s. d. 
126 5 o 


W. H. ALEXANDER 


100 


200 


275 o o 


J. H. BEAZLEY 


200 





400 o o 


C. M. CRICHTON 


200 


200 


475 o o 


JOHN RIGBY 


So 


205 


176 12 


H. J. FALK 





I.OOO 


375 o o 


*F. W. CLARKE 


3 





60 o o 


*G. W. MALCOLM 









1,887 17 o 



* Elected September, 1913. 

In this connection there appears to be some significance in the 
fact that although Messrs. Brunner, Mond are so largely interested 
in the Cheshire salt lands, they are very modest shareholders in 
the Salt Union. Mr. Emile S;Mond, of 22, Hyde Park Square, W., 
is registered as a holder of 425 ordinary shares, while Sir John 
Brunner, Mrs. L. Brunner and Mr. W. C. Barclay figure in the 
register as joint holders of 100 ordinary shares. 

The Salt Union methods throughout have been directed by a 
determination to keep the trade to themselves, not by producing 



xxii. INTRODUCTION. 

superior and cheaper salt, but by crushing everybody who has 
attempted to compete with them. The policy has failed, and 
failed ignominiously, and as a last resort they have invested over 
100,000 in the erection of an expensive Vacuum plant at 
Weston Point, where they are manufacturing salt from brine 
pumped through the Marbury Pipe Line. It is locally claimed that 
they would have been better advised to have extended their 
works at Winsford with this money, and it is certain that the 
Marbury Line involved them in litigation which has cost them 
many thousands of pounds. This Weston Point investment is a 
last effort to rebuild a lost business on new lines, but the Union is 
so overloaded with capital that one hopes for, rather than feels 
any belief in, their chances of success. In this connection it is 
interesting to note that in the evidence given in the House of 
Lords before the Committee appointed for the Brine Pumping 
(Cheshire) Bill, 1912, it transpired that the lease of the Marbury 
Pipe had only 30 years to run from 1912, and that the Vacuum 
plant at Weston Point is only capable of treating 150,000 to 
250,000 tons of salt per annum. It was further admitted that 
while, in 1888, the Salt Union practically controlled all the output 
of salt in Great Britain, it owned, in 1912, only two Vacuum plants 
and 684 pans of which, I am convinced, nothing like that number 
are being worked to-day while the combined salt plants of 
outside manufacturers amounted to 392 pans and three Vacuum 
plants. 

The original capital of the Company in shares and debentures 
was 4,000,000 a capital which was increased in 1895 to 
4,200,000 by the issue of further debentures to the amount of 
200,000 and reduced in 1901 to its present total capitalization 
of 2,600,000, made up as follows : 
i 

600,000 . . . . Pref. Shares. 

800,000 . . . . Ord. Shares. 

1,000,000 .. .. i st Debentures. 

200,000 . . B. Debentures. 

2,600,000 



INTRODUCTION. xxiii. 

Even at this figure, the capitalization is hopelessly inflated. 
It would appear to be practically impossible for the ordinary 
shareholders ever to receive another dividend, and in the event of 
the Company being wound up they would certainly get nothing. 
The question for consideration to-day is whether the properties 
valued in the balance sheet at 2,990,960 9$. 6d. would realise 
sufficient to cover the issued debenture liability of 1,200,000. 
In my opinion they would not, and failing reorganisation or 
reconstruction, it would appear that the Salt Union must 
eventually fall into the hands of Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co., 
who have displayed a commercial genius and capacity for 
economic organisation which have been among the most prominent 
omissions from the governing councils of the Salt Union's 
directorates. 

In the following pages the history of the failure of the Salt 
Union is told in the words of the officials and shareholders of the 
combination. I have refrained from adding many details from 
documents in my possession which would more fully explain and 
emphasize this story of mismanagement and misfortune ; the 
successive reports issued by the Board, and the reports of the 
general and extraordinary meetings of the Company, tell their 
own melancholy tale. 

In October, 1888, common salt was selling at 3/- to 5/-, and 
fine salt at 24/-. In February, 1889, the price of common salt 
had been advanced to 7/- to io/-, and fine salt was selling at 48/-. 
By the end of that year the Union had made a net profit of 
368,512, and declared a dividend of io per cent, on the ordinary 
shares. By the end of 1890 the net profit was less than in the 
previous year by more than 62,000, the interest on the ordinary 
shares had fallen to 8 per cent, and there were dissentions among 
the members of the Board. Already it had become apparent 
to certain of the directors that the Union was working along 
wrong lines, and some of them had handed in their resignations. 
An extraordinary meeting which was called in August, 1891, to allay 
"" unfounded rumours " regarding the position of the Union, only 



xxiv. INTRODUCTION. 

succeeded in confirming those reports. The fall in prices, in profits, 
and in dividends was admitted. High prices had stimulated 
competition, and it was judged advisable to carefully revise 
market prices, piactice increased economy by unification of 
management, and modify the system of distribution by which the 
Salt Union had recklessly and unnecessarily fettered its commercial 
activities. Mr. C. A. McDowell, at this meeting, eloquently deplored 
the grevious mistakes made by directors in the past, alluded to 
leakages in the system which required immediate rectification, 
urged that the Cheshire Board should be replaced by an Executive 
Committee, and appealed for the reorganisation of the emoluments 
paid to the directors. The chairman promised that the directors 
would do their best to " wipe up the mess," and the interest on the 
ordinary shares was reduced to 5 per cent. As the result of about 
three years' trading, the affairs of the company were officially 
described as " a mess," and the dividend on the ordinary shares 
had diminished by fifty per cent. 

The year's working in 1892 was admittedly disappointing to 
the Board, but they had by this time decided upon a policy of 
selling at low but remunerative prices. They recognised that the 
future welfare of the Company must not rest upon high prices, but 
on the maintenance and development of their trade. The 
chairman courteously offered to consider Mr. McDowell's demand 
that the Executive Committee which at his instigation had 
replaced the Cheshire Board should now be superseded by a 
General Manager, but on questions of the management of the 
Company's business the chairman assumed the attitude which 
has always characterised the directorate of the Salt Union. We 
are appointed to manage this business, is the tone of the official 
utterance ; the shareholders must either trust us or get rid of us, 
and further inquiries on the subject were classified as " questions 
which we have a right not to answer." 

The figures for 1894 were the first in the history of the Union 
which showed an expansion of trade compared with previous 
years. As against this satisfactory item of intelligence, the net 



INTRODUCTION. xxv. 

profits had decreased to 170,482, the dividend on the ordinary 
shares had dropped to 2\ per cent., and the directors had to ask 
the shareholders to sanction the creation of B. Debentures to the 
amount of 250,000 for working capital. Mr. McDowell was, if 
possible, more dissatisfied with the conduct of the Board than 
ever. They had disbanded their Executive Committee, and 
created an office of General Manager, but in Mr. Fells they had 
selected for the new position the last man in the world who, in 
Mr. McDowell's judgment, was capable of filling it. He suggested 
that a committee of shareholders should be appointed to assist 
the directors in the conduct of their business. 

Of the 250,000 B. Debentures created, 200,000 were issued, 
and Messrs. W. S. McDowell and G. H. Cox are registered as the 
Trustees. 

The security as registered is as follows : 

" Certain trade marks which have been substituted for 
others which formed part of the original security. Certain 
property at Over, mining rights over the Salt Holme and 
Bellingham Estates, co. Durham, and certain freeholds at 
Bellingham. Residue of unexpired term of lease of land and 
premises known as Runcorn Soap & Alkali Works, Limited, 
at Over, Cheshire." 

Another year of disappointing trading and reduced profits 
in 1895 inspired the directors with the idea that instead of 
manufacturing salt at low prices for use in chemical works, it 
would be more profitable for them to use their own salt for the 
manufacture of the higher priced chemicals. The ordinary 
shareholders, learning that they were to receive a dividend of 2 
per cent., and probably concluding that even if they adventured 
into the chemical business it could not easily be less, approved 
the suggestion, and the chairman assured the meeting that, although 
the Board would not embark in chemicals in a hurry, the response 
of the majority of the shareholders had given them fresh courage 
to think about persevering in the new enterprise. 

The report for 1896 contained the announcement that a 



xxvi. INTRODUCTION. 

Compensation Board had been formed to assess the damages 
caused by brine pumping in the Northwich compensation area. 
This marked the end of the long and bitter struggle that had been 
waged between the Salt Union and the people of the salt towns 
over the Brine Pumping (Compensation for Subsidence) Bill. The 
Union had exerted all their influence and expended thousands of 
pounds in a vain attempt to evade responsibility for the great 
damage they were causing in the salt district, and now that they 
were finally compelled by Parliament to pay compensation, the 
chairman of the Annual Meeting held in 1897, expressed the hope 
" that in future years the wisdom and discretion of the Brine 
Pumping Board and the gradual enlightenment of the residents 
will arrange that the rate shall not be excessive." As the 
residents had succeeded in their purpose of forcing the enlightened 
Board of the Salt Union to practice common honesty in their 
dealings with them, they were not perturbed by this exhibition 
of bad taste, but the shareholders of the Company had less 
reason for making excuses for their directors. They had had 
another bad year, and it was admitted that both in regard to 
tonnage sold and the general average of prices the results were 
unsatisfactory. But the erection of soap works had been 
commenced at Winsford and the Board were still giving " constant 
and careful attention " to the question of chemical manufacture, 
and they announced that they proposed to make a start in that 
business when they saw " reasonable grounds for anticipating 
success." Although trade was on the down grade and the 
expenses were increasing, it was believed by the directors that 
the affairs of the Salt Union had touched bottom and a revival 
of prosperity might be anticipated. A dividend of i per cent, on 
the ordinary shares was declared. 

The fallaciousness of these hopeful prognostications was 
seen when the report for 1897 was published. The year's trading 
had resulted in a further general decrease in both prices and 
tonnage. The soap works had been completed, and the Board 
were still carefully considering the question of the manufacture of 



INTRODUCTION. 



STATEMENT SHOWING THE RATES OF DIVIDEND PAID BY THE 

SALT UNION, LTD., SINCE INCORPORATION, CALCULATED ON THE 

ORIGINAL CAPITALIZATION AND THE STOCK EXCHANGE PRICES 

OF SALT UNION SHARES. 



Pref. Div. 



1889 
90 

I 

2 

3 
4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 

1900 
i 

2 

3 

4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 
10 
1 1 



7% 
7% 
7% 
7% 
7% 
7% 
7% 
7% 



3% 
3% 
3% 



3% 



31% 



Average dividend 
for 23 years 3!% 

Total paid in 

Dividends 857,000 



d. Div. 


S.E. Prices of Shares. 


Pref. 


Ordy. 


10% 


.. 12 


i 


10 


.. in 


1 1 


IO 


7% 


12 


17 


6 


ii 


13 


9 


5% 


IO 


7 


6 


7 


5 


7 


5% 


9 


9 


4 


4 


15 


7 


3% 


9 


IO 





4 


4 


3 


2*% 


IO 


4 


5 


4 


6 


IO 


2% 


IO 


5 


7 


4 








!% 


IO 


i 


IO 


3 


i 


3 





9 


7 


6 


2 


IO 


o 





6 


16 


IO 


I 


15 








4 


7 


6 


I 


13 


9 





3 


IO 


IO 


I 


IO 


o 





3 


16 


IO 


I 


7 


7 





5 


5 





I 


8 


i 





4 


9 


i 


I 


i 


3 





3 


18 


3 





13 


3 





3 


16 


3 


O 


12 


IO 





3 


4 


o 


o 


14 


7 


i% 


3 


19 


o 





16 


3 





4 


6 


10 


o 


15 


9 





3 


11" 


3 


o 


13 


5 





3 


ii 


9 


o 


13 


3 





4 


i 


10 


o 


H 


o 



720,000 



1,577,000 av. 68-565 p. a. or 
2-285%. 



Note. October, 1913. At this date the shares of the Salt 
Union are quoted as follows : 

Salt Union (4) Ordinary . . y/- 
Salt Union (6) 7% Pref. . . 2 



xxviii. INTRODUCTION. 

chemicals. Moreover, although the Union were so soon to 
increase their brine pumping from the salt district to Weston Point, 
over eleven miles of country, they had pleasure in announcing 
that they had contrived to injunct a rival salt manufacturer from 
conveying his brine under roads, the subsoil of which belonged 
to the Union. When the chairman had delivered his lengthy 
explanation of the " very unsatisfactory results " of the past 
year's trading, the question of transferring the head offices of the 
Company from London to Liverpool was debated. Mr. C. A. 
McDowell, that consistent critic of the policy of the Union, was 
dead, but his son, Mr. W. S. McDowell, had stepped into the breach, 
and was the enthusiastic leader of the malcontents. It was pointed 
out that the suggested change from London to Liverpool would 
mean the substitution of a new Board of Directors, but as this 
was what the agitators were working for, the announcement of 
the self-evident fact did not cause them any dismay. It was 
recognised that they had arrived at the lowest ebb at which the 
fortunes of the Salt Union could fall, and that the situation had 
been brought about by the fact that the Union had always been 
in a state of disunion and actual warfare. " Do for one instant 
all pull together," one shareholder exhorted the meeting, " do for 
one instant sink your petty differences and petty rivalries and pull 
altogether for the benefit of the Salt Union." The Hon. C. W. 
Mills assured the meeting that it was not by economies or a rise 
in the price of salt that the salvation of the Union would be effected, 
but by a drastic reconstruction of the capital of the Company. 
The meeting was too disturbed by the elements of faction to pull 
all together, but the majority were with Mr. McDowell, and a com- 
mittee of shareholders was appointed to confer with the directors 
with a view to improving the Company's business and prospects 
and use its best endeavours to strengthen the Board. 

The anti-McDowell faction if defeated were not inactive, and 
when in April, 1898, the Committee of Shareholders announced 
that they had selected a new Board of commercial non-salt men 
and recommended their election, the committee of the Salt 



INTRODUCTION. xxix. 

Union Shareholders' Association, headed by Dr. McDougall, 
issued a counterblast. They pointed out that Mr. McDowell, as 
shareholder and agent of the Salt Union, was acting in the dual 
capacity of buyer and seller, and that it would be disastrous to 
entrust the entire control of the Salt Union, to a Board nominated 
by that gentleman. The two committees bombarded the share- 
holders with circulars, and the existing directorate appear to have 
exerted themselves in vain to bring about a combination of both 
parties and induce them to fill up the vacancies on the Board by 
an unanimous vote. At the eleventh hour, however, the two 
committees met, and it was announced at an Extraordinary 
Meeting that while Mr. McDowell was pledged to his nominees, 
he entertained a strong hope that when two vacancies would 
shortly take place on the Board, they would be filled by selections 
from Dr. McDougall's list. This arrangement was regarded by 
the chairman as an indication that the Union could really be united 
and that everybody connected with the concern had its prosperity 
at heart. 

The first Annual Meeting held in Liverpool and the tenth in 
the history of the Salt Union, took place in March, 1899, and was 
presided over by Mr. George Henry Cox, the deputy-chairman. 
It was reported that the transference of the head office from 
London to Liverpool had resulted in " economy and advantage " 
to the Company, but they were not evidenced by the accounts. 
The tonnage has still further decreased, the net profit was 
transformed into a loss of 21,200, and no dividend was declared 
on either the preference or the ordinary shares. The ordinary 
shares which were quoted at 11 us. lod. in 1889, and were 2 los. 
in 1887, had fallen to i 133. gd. in 1889, and they have since steadily 
declined to their present (October, 1913) market price of 75. The 
chairman announced that the policy of the new Board embraced 
the selling, as opportunity offered, of the Company's surplus 
properties, reserving the brine and the salt and mineral lands, and 
the guarding of their lands against competitors in other words, 
the practice of the system of locking up the Cheshire salt lands 



xxx. INTRODUCTION. 

which has been the target of so much recent criticism. The 
Board were considering many reforms, including the suggestion 
from a shareholder as to " whether so much of the Company's 
capital has not actually disappeared as to render further trading 
impossible." The chairman disarmed criticism by declaring 
that if the new Board had contemplated the magnitude of the 
work that lay before them, very few of them would have under, 
taken the job at all. A suggestion that the payment of the 
directors should cease, was met by the chairman with the confession 
that he would be pleased to resign his place next day if anyone 
could be found who would do the work " for the love of the thing." 
Dr. McDougall, the ex-chairman of the abortive committee of the 
Salt Union Shareholders' Association, fired off a whole string of 
questions at the chairman and reminded the Board that, at the 
previous meeting, it had been arranged that in the event of 
vacancies occurring on the direction of the Company, two outside 
people would be appointed to the Board. The chairman replied 
that they were " a compact Board, working together," and 
reminded the meeting of the old adage that " too many cooks 
spoil the broth." 

During 1899 the management and staff underwent some 
reorganization, but the decrease in the tonnage was not arrested. 
The Union had entered into a new combination for regulating 
salt prices, and several small lots of the Company's superfluous 
property had been sold. The Board claimed that this represented 
a satisfactory year's work. It transpired, in answer to a question 
on the subject, that the expenses of Mr. McDowell's committee, to 
the amount of 484, had been defrayed out of the funds of the 
Salt Union. 

Two pieces of unconscious humour enlivened the proceedings. 
The first was contributed by Mr. Fells. In recent years the Salt 
Union had fought and bled gold, if not corpuscles, in their attempt 
to maintain that brine pumping did not cause the subsidence from 
which the entire salt region was suffering. In the end they lost 
their case and now Mr. Fells explained that the Salt Union was 



INTRODUCTION. xxxi. 

itself a big sufferer from subsidence in the Northwich area, and 
he appealed to the chairman to approach the other brine pumpers 
in the district and, by his tact and diplomacy, to obtain from them 
a substantial amount of compensation for the damage they were 
inflicting upon the Union by their pumping operations. The 
second touch of humour emanated from Mr. Frederick Walker, 
the ex-secretary of Mr. McDowell's Committee of Shareholders 
which had placed the existing Board in office. He had listened 
with sorrow to the proposals to economise in the matter of 
directors' fees. He declared that the 2,627 IOS - 8d. paid to the 
Board for their services was insufficient, and he proposed that an 
extra sum of 1,000 should be divided amongst them. The motion 
was not put to the meeting, as the chairman, in replying to this 
generous suggestion, announced that the Board had no wish to 
accept more remuneration until the Company was in a better 
position. But the chairman did not state, as one thinks it was 
his duty to have done, that in addition to the 2,627 IOS - 8d. which 
figured in the balance sheet, the directors were receiving a further 
2,000 which was charged under the heading of Administration 
Expenses. They evidently considered, however, that it was 
injudicious to continue to mislead the shareholders in this matter, 
and in the next balance sheet the directors' remuneration was 
clearly stated at 4,852. The accounts show that during the 
ensuing ten years the Board never received less than 4,852 in 
any one year, while for eight of those years their fees amounted 
to over 5,000 per annum, and in 1904, although only six directors 
were acting, the fees and payments to the Board reached a total 
of 5,883. As Mr. Walker has made no further observation on 
the subject of the inadequacy, or otherwise, of the directors' re- 
muneration, it is possible that he may have overlooked these 
interesting figures ! 

In the first year of the present century, the Board, while 
coquetting with a plant for the recovery of ammonia, announced 
that their soap works, of which so much had been anticipated, 
were in the market and only a reasonable price would be asked of 



xxxii. INTRODUCTION. 

TABLE OF DIRECTORS' FEES, LAW CHARGES AND ADMINISTRATION 

EXPENSES. 



Year. 


No. of 
Directors. 


Directors' Fees, 
Travelling 
Expenses, 6-c. 


Law Charges, 
Stamp Duties, 
Preliminary and 
Parliamentary 
Expenses. 


Administration 
Expenses. 






s. d. 


i *. d. 


i s. d. 


1889 


H 


9,594 17 4 


12,546 6 7 


27,214 9 ii 


1890 


H 


8,545 12 2 


12,546 6 7 


3L303 5 2 


1891 


9 


6,082 15 9 


12,546 6 7 


29,305 13 2 


1892 


8 


2,888 7 10 


12,546 6 7 


26,856 2 5 


i893 


8 


2,994 5 9 


12,546 6 7 


27,731 5 4 


1894 


7 


2,769 19 7 


3,631 6 o 


29,961 3 8 


1895 


7 


2,564 13 7 


4,410 o 9 


32,749 7 3 


1896 


7 


2,574 18 2 


7,110 i 8 


32,449 14 8 


1897 


6 


2,429 13 9 


5,175 10 o 


25,801 ii ii 


1898 


7 


2,605 ^ 1 1 


i,3n 3 ii 


22,255 J 8 o 


1899 


7 


2,627 10 8 


468 2 6 


30,739 12 9 


1900 


7 


*4.852 9 5 


1,100 2 5 


28,407 17 i 


1901 


7 


5,162 3 8 


594 12 4 


29,611 3 3 


1902 


6 


5,303 2 9 


538 i 6 


29,200 1 8 7 


1903 


7 


4,871 8 10 


801 12 7 


28,460 19 9 


1904 


6 


5,883 15 o 


1,721 5 10 


29,076 1 8 o 


1905 


6 


5,323 5 o 


I-H7 7 9 


28,633 17 7 


1906 


6 


5,086 10 o 


604 12 I 


27,662 12 8 


1907 


7 


4,987 10 o 


190 10 3 


28,191 7 10 


1908 


7 


5,628 5 8 


323 8 i 


30,035 6 6 


1909 


7 


5,200 o o 


533 7 2 


29,105 2 4 


1910 


7 


5,200 o o 


670 ii 6 


29,849 19 i 


1911 


6 


4,875 o o 


680 8 6 


30,196 4 8 


1912 


6 


4,800 o o 


4,434 10 9 


29,184 17 8 






112,851 13 10 


98,178 8 6 


693,985 9 3 



* The Directors' Fees for the previous years appear to be lower, but 
they were not so, further fees having been paid under the heading of 
Special Services of Directors and included in Administration Expenses. 

The items for Law Expenses for the years 1889-1893 include Govern- 
ment stamp duties in connection with the purchase of the properties which 
were divided over the first five years. 



INTRODUCTION. xxxiii. 

a prospective purchaser. The politeness with which the Board 
listened to a shareholder's suggestion as to the desirability of 
reconstructing the Company, seemed to show that the idea had 
already been discussed by the directors and, at the Annual Meeting 
in 1901, a proposal was submitted for writing off 1,400,000 of 
the capital of the Union. In the course of a long and heated 
discussion, one dejected ordinary shareholder protested that if the 
holders of ordinary shares " are to stand still and take this scheme, 
we may as well shut up for ever, for we shall never get a penny." 
The meeting took the scheme and the pessimistic shareholder's 
prophecy was happily falsified in 1908 when a dividend of is. per 
share was declared on the ordinary shares since when the Salt 
Union has paid no other. 

By 1903 the Board had decided to erect works at Weston 
Point for the manufacture of sulphate of ammonia as a bye- 
product. At this meeting Mr. Lowden offered the Union, as a free 
gift, a new process for making salt for which he claimed that it 
utilized all the heat of the fuel, instead of wasting 50 per cent. ; 
it used a good portion of the steam arising from the brine-pans 
when in work, and effected other economies. Mr. Lowden declared 
that his method had been tried on a commercial scale at the Salt 
Union works and had effected an enormous reduction in the cost 
of making salt. The chairman explained that the Board had 
declined the offer as counsel advised them that the patents were 
not valid. He subsequently admitted that the directors did not 
believe in the patent and their decision may have been affected by 
the fact that they had already arranged to instal the Mond producer 
plant at Weston Point. This was completed at a cost of 47,000 
in 1904, and in the following year Mr. Fells regretted that the 
Board, after twelve months' experience of the Mond plant, could 
not come to a definite conclusion as to the economies it effected 
in the manufacture of salt. In view of the fact that the Board 
were erecting a Vacuum plant at Winsford, it was evident to 
him that the Mond plant had been adopted either too soon or too 
late. Mr. Fells further pointed out that as the result of the past 



xxxiv. INTRODUCTION. 

six years' work as compared with the previous six years, the price 
of salt was less by 2^d. per ton and the cost of manufacture was 
9^d. per ton higher, while in the same period the Union's trade had 
decreased by nearly 25 per cent. 

The tale of the Salt Union's activities in 1905 was told in a report 
announcing decreased tonnage, a diminution of profits, the passing 
of the preference dividend and a sum of 169 135. 6d. carried 
forward. The Salt Association had been dissolved because the 
poor Salt Union was not getting fair play at the hands of outside 
makers. The chairman maintained that the Association was not 
a good thing for the Union and the Board had done wisely in 
terminating the arrangement, but in the course of the same speech 
he must have bewildered the shareholders by admitting that the 
loss of profit was " mainly due to that Association coming to an 
end." A new combination, the North Western Salt Co., Ltd., 
came into existence in the following year, and the chairman of the 
meeting held in 1907 expressed the belief that the Union had 
arrived at " a thoroughly sound and practical working scheme 
for regulating the tonnage and prices of the salt world as a whole." 
The Vacuum pans had worked continuously, a remodelling of the 
existing salt plant and warehouses at Weston Point would be 
undertaken, and the Board were satisfied that they had adopted 
the right course in establishing the new process. The law action 
against Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. had failed in the Lord Chief 
Justices' Court, for, while it was decided that Messrs. Brunner, 
Mond had been extracting the Salt Union's brine and mineral, 
the Union could not legally prevent them from so doing. The 
Board announced their intention of appealing against that decision, 
but wiser counsels prevailed ; and by the Annual Meeting in 1908 a 
settlement had been arranged by which the chemical firm paid 
the Union 125,000 and received from them the transfer of some 
350 acres of land and minerals in Northwich, while both sides 
paid their own law costs. 

The fluctuations in the fortunes of the Salt Union during the 
past five years have alternately disappointed and mildly flattered 



INTRODUCTION. xxxv. 

the shareholders. The years 1908 and 1909 were marked by 
decreased tonnage and shrinkage in the net profits ; in 1910 there 
was an improvement in both particulars, and this encouraging 
result was repeated in 1911. But 1912 witnessed a new develop- 
ment in the Company's trading, and while the tonnage had 
increased by the negligible margin of 6,000 tons, the profits showed 
a falling off of no less than 45,000. 

With the revival of business in 1908 the Board became more 
optimistic, and the announcement that the Company was broad 
awake to the necessity of abandoning old " rule of thumb " 
methods and recruiting brains upon the executive staff, was 
coupled with the prediction that a gradual improvement in trade 
might be anticipated. This hope was not fulfilled in 1909 and 
the ordinary shareholders, at the meeting held in 1910, were 
assured that the protracted absence of dividends was " due to 
the original sin of over capitalization." But the Board 
announced their decision to employ 115,000 out of the 125,000 
received from Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. in establishing a Vacuum 
plant at Weston Point, and the chairman indignantly denounced 
the action of the " busy bodies of central Cheshire " in challenging 
the Union's right to pump brine out of the salt district to be 
manufactured into salt at Weston. The directors also warned 
the trade that if the termination of the North Western Salt 
Company's operations in 1911 was followed by a scramble for 
tonnage, the fight would be continued until all the producers had 
succeeded in losing a great deal of money. 

In 1911 the " mischievous and mistaken " agitation against the 
Marbury pipe line was persisted in ; the subscribers to the North 
Western salt combination declined to renew their agreements with 
the Company, and the Salt Union and six other salt firms formed 
the British Salt Association, Ltd., in competition with ten 
manufacturers who remained outside the new combine. At the 
Annual Meeting held in March of the present year, it was learnt 
that the British Salt Association had been disbanded, the solar 
salt imports were nearly doubled, the strike among the salt men 



xxxvi. INTRODUCTION. 

had disorganized trade in Middlesbrough, and the directors could 
hold out " no hope for an eventual return to the prices ruling in 
the previous three or four years." 

Only one piece of satisfactory news had the Board to impart 
to the shareholders, and that was the information that the Brine 
Pumping (Cheshire) Bill, 1912, had been successfully resisted. The 
directors congratulated the shareholders cordially on this 
termination of a protracted struggle, but seeing that the local 
people, who promoted and supported the Bill, were only trying 
to prevent the Salt Union from doing what the Salt Union had 
consistently prevented other people from doing since their 
incorporation, it is questionable whether the chairman was 
justified in stigmatizing the action of the local authorities as an 
" altogether monstrous attempt to interfere with the natural 
course of trade." But the attitude of the Salt Union on the subject 
of the " natural course of trade " has always been curiously 
narrow and, if one dare to say so, singularly selfish. In his speech 
at this meeting, the chairman deplored these efforts to restrict 
trade ; immediately afterwards, he declared that " the greatest 
enemy of the trade is the overproduction of salt," and he 
announced with regret that " further additional tonnage is 
about to be created." By a policy of locking-up salt lands, con- 
spiring with Messrs. Brunner, Mond to resist competitive 
invasion, and opposing the laying of every pipe save their own 
Marbury conduit to Weston Point, the Salt Union have con- 
sistently strained every nerve to restrict trade and preserve a 
monopoly. If Lord Ribblesdale, who presided over the Brine 
Committee, described the Salt Union as " good men struggling 
against adversity " a remark the chairman quoted with some 
pride I should be inclined to question their goodness and to add 
that the adversity they have suffered has been mainly of their own 
making. 

The perusal of the following pages will, I think, convince the 
impartial reader that the main factor in the failure of the Salt 
Union lies in the inflated prices they paid for the properties in the 



INTRODUCTION. xxxvii. 

first instance. The scheme was plausible enough, and the business 
should have achieved success if the properties had been acquired 
on anything like reasonable terms, and the Union had not been 
handicapped, at the start, with a collection of absurd, indefinite 
and incomplete agreements. These impossible contracts have 
involved the Company in incessant and costly litigation and heavy 
losses, in respect of which payments have been and are being made 
every year. It cost the Union 60,000, in addition to substantial 
law costs, to settle the Corbett case, and although they won the 
Deakin action they had to liquidate their own heavy bill for legal 
expenses. The Ashton agreement was never contested in the 
Courts, but it met with the disapproval of the old directors and it 
has cost the Company thousands of pounds which the McDowell 
family have collected in the shape of commissions on sales of 
branded salt from Ashton 's Works, although the original purchase 
price ought to have covered the goodwill in the brands, trade 
marks, etc. 

That the Salt Union would have proved a commercial success 
if it had been properly organized and carefully managed, I am not 
prepared to deny. The inefficiency of the original organization 
speaks for itself, and the defect in the management is revealed in 
the fact that the Company which, up to 1912, disbursed 1,242,199 
for debenture interest and made a net profit of 1,953,930, was 
mulcted in the following totally disproportionate charges : 

/ s. d. 

Directors' Fees and Expenses . . . . 112,851 13 10 
Law Charges, Preliminary and Parlia- 
mentary Expenses . . . . 98,178 8 6 
Administration Expenses . . . . 693,985 9 3 

In conclusion I would only say that although I have attempted 
to keep this introduction within moderate space limits, the variety 
and interest of the many points calling for consideration has 
compelled me to exceed the number of pages I intended to devote 
to the subject. Indeed, the subject would not be exhausted 



xxxviii. INTRODUCTION. 

under an entire volume, and further volumes might, and I hope 
will be written, if time and opportunity permits, on the ramifica- 
tions between the Salt Union, Messrs. Brunner, Mond and the River 
Weaver Navigation. I have not found room in this little book 
to deal with the amazing manner in which Messrs. Brunner, Mond 
and the Salt Union have contrived to tie up the salt lands of 
Cheshire, but it is a topic that cries aloud for publication, and when 
the details are printed they will read like a romance. 

ALBERT F. CALVERT. 

ROYSTON, 

ETON AVENUE, N.W., 
ist November, 1913. 






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Willow Bank Salt Works, Over. 
Lease expiring 1904 at ^95 per 
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Witton Hall Salt Works, Northwich, 
lease 30 years from 1888, at a 
rental of {320 per annum, and 3d. 
per ton royalty. 
Witton Hall Salt Mine, lease for 30 
years from 1888, at ^550 per 
annum. 

Salt works, about 3^ acres. 
Salt mine at Dunkirk, about 6 acres. 
A field, about 5^ acres, under which 
rock salt has been excavated. 
About 7 acres of land in Witton. 


Mining rights under about 7 acres of 
freehold land. 
Rock salt mine, with 2 shafts, at 
Ollershaw. 


Ollershaw Lane Works, occupied by 
Messrs. Fletcher & Rigby. 


The Island Salt Works, Winsford, 2 
acres, lease 30 years from 1888, 
^400 per annum. 
The Willow Bank Salt Works, Over, 
near Winsford. 
Witton Hall Salt Works, Northwich. 
Witton Hall Rock Salt Mine, North- 
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Meadow Bank Works. 


Leftwich Salt Works. 
Witton Salt Works, North 


National Works, Winsford 
Little Meadow Salt Works, 


Wincham. 


Marston Hall Works. 


Meadow Salt Works, Wins 
Moulton Hall Salt Works, 
Pigott's Works, Winsford. 


Knight's Grange Salt We 
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Winnington New Works. 
Bye Flat Works, Winningt 

Alliance Salt Works, Norti 


Marston Old Rock Salt 
White Salt Works. 


Wincham Old Salt Works. 


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WM. WORTHINGTON 


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SIMPSON DAVIES & 


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WM. HICKSON. 
A. J. THOMPSON. 


FLETCHER & RIGBY 


YEOMANS & Co. 


GEORGE CAPPER. 


EDMUND LEIGH. 



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Eden Salt Mine, Carri 


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ALEX MISCAMPBELL. 


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SOUTH DURHAM SALT C 


WATSON & SCRAFTON. 


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Vendors, 


THOS. PATTEN. 


THOMAS BARROW. 


THOMAS WARD. 
R. D. NICHOLSON. 
TOWNSHEND'S TRUSTEE 


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ROGER W. WILBRAHAM 
THOS. HENRY LYON. 


RICHARD HENRY DONE 
PHCENIX SALT AND LIM: 



I understand that the following Properties were purchased by 
the Salt Union, but I have been unable to trace them in the 
agreements : 



Vendors. 


Property. 


Price paid. 


TOWNSHEND'S TRUSTEES . . 


Brine, Lands, Northwich . . 


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RUNCORN SOAP AND ALKALI 
COMPANY 





32,000 


BELL BROS. 


Middlesbrough 


1 20,000 



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T. H. MARSHALL. 


JOHNSON FLETCHE 


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PARKS BROS. 
WILLIAM PARKS. 


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THE MARBURY PIPE LINE. 

The Marbury Pipe, through which the brine raised at Marston, near 
Northwich, is pumped a distance of eleven miles, via the Marbury Pumping 
Station to Weston, where it is manufactured into salt, is of considerable 
interest. It is interesting in the first place because the future of the Salt 
Union largely depends upon its Weston works in which the Cheshire brine 
is treated, and in the second by reason of the litigation in which it has 
involved the Union and the Cheshire authorities, and it is thought that the 
appended copies of the prospectuses connected with its initiation might be 
appropriately reproduced in a book of this nature. 

The Marbury Pipe was laid in or about the year 1882, previous to which 
no brine had been conveyed outside the salt district. The Mersey Salt 
and Brine Company, which was responsible for its construction, was a small 
affair, and it was not thought at the time that the pipe would bring Weston 
into serious competition with the industry of the salt towns. The Weaver 
Trustees practically ignored it, and the private landowners over whose lands 
it was laid consented to its construction. The North Staffordshire Railway 
Company objected to the pipe being carried across their Trent and Mersey 
Canal, as such a proceeding was expressly prohibited by their Act of 
Parliament ; but the Mersey Salt and Brine Company persisted in its 
enterprise in defiance of this objection, and five years later it silenced the 
railway company's importunities by consenting to pay a rental of ^5 a year, 
and to remove the pipe on receipt of a three months' notice requiring it 
to do so. When the Salt Union was formed in 1888, they absorbed the Mersey 
Salt and Brine Company, and became the owners of the Marbury Pipe. In 
1910 the pipe was enlarged, and powerful pumping engines were erected at 
Marbury capable of forcing hundreds of millions of gallons of brine to Weston. 

What had been a very small undertaking in 1882 had become so serious 
a matter by 1910 that the North Stafford Railway, acting on counsel's- 
advice, gave notice to the Salt Union requiring them to remove the pipe on 
3ist March, 1911. The Union ignored the notice, and the local authorities- 
of Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich resolved to apply for a Bill " to 
regulate the conveyance of brine pumped, raised and gotten in the County 
of Chester, and for other purposes." In 1900 the Salt Union paid ^1,100 in 
opposing the Widnes Brine Bill, because, " If they could have brought 
brine across in Lancashire, it would have seriously injured Cheshire." In 
1912 the Salt Union as strenuously opposed any interference with the 
bringing of brine from Northwich to Weston because it was beneficial to their 
own interests, and the interests of the Cheshire salt district, which were 
seriously injured by it, became a matter of supreme indifference to them. The 



THE MARBURY PIPE LINE. II 

first draft of the Bill was amended by a clause permitting the Salt Union to 
pump 250,000,000 gallons of brine annually through the pipe, and by another 
clause allowing manufacturers .to convey brine through pipes from one set of 
works to another within the salt district. On the strength of these amend- 
ments Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. withdrew their opposition to the projected 
measure, but the Salt Union refused to negotiate until the Bill was withdrawn. 
They ventured to predict that the measure would be ridiculed by the Par- 
liamentary Committee, and thrown out on the first day it came before them. 
In point of fact a Select Committee in the House of Lords thrashed out the 
question for eleven days in May and June, 1912, but only to find, in the end, 
that the Bill could not proceed. 



THE MERSEY 8ALT & BRINE 

COMPANY, LIMITED. 

Incorporated under the Companies Acts, 1862 to 1880, by which the liability of Shareholder! it limited to Uii 
amount of their Shares. 



CAPITAL, 06250,000, 

IN 25.0OO SHARES OF 1O EACH. 
FURST XSSTJIE OF 20,000 SHJLI^ES. 

p ayable lOs per Share on Application, IDs. on Allotment, and the Balance in calls not exceeding 2 
per Share, at intervals of not less than Three Months. 

If NO ALLOTMENT BE MADE. THE DEPOSIT WILL BE RETURNED IN FULL 
Prnu" -in /M7v been made for vesting 10,000 in the hands of Trustees, to secure 
inii/iiient u( Intrrrst lutl I'-yearly. at, tlie rate of 5 per Cent, per Annum, during 
fix period oj construction. 



TRUSTEES. 

The Honorable NORMAN GROSVENOR, 3:>, Park Street, Grosvenor Square 
GEOKGK BEHREND, Esq. (Messrs. BAHK, BEIIREXD & R..S*), L.vcrpool 

DIRECTORS 

Tin- Righ-UonorableHENRYCECILRAIKES, Llwynegrin.Mold, and St. Martin ' House, Chester (Chmrmn). 
LUJ UTL Y SU1PSON, 'Bat,., Pirwtor (latn ('liainmm ) uf the Great Eastern Railway Company ( I'm-- f/airman). 
T GRAHAM BALFOUR. Kq., F.R.S (Director City of Glasgow Life Assurance Company) 
The H-nnrablc ASHLEY G. J PONSONBY (Director of Submarine Telegraph Company) 
GEORGE STEWARD HAZLEHURST. Esq., Tin; Elms. Runcorn. 
JAMKS LAWRIE. Esq (J*Kt8 LAWIUE 4 Co.), W. Old BroadStreet, E (. 

BANKERS 
NATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK OF ENGLAND (L ), 112, Bishopsgatc Sti-cct Within. F..C. (also 

Manchester, Liverpool and Branches). 

Messrs. RANSOM, BOtTVERIE & Co.. 1. Pall Mall Enst, S.W 
PARRS BANKING COMPANY WarrinRton, Ruiu-orn. Widncn, and Branches. 

SOLICITORS 

Mcwrs BAXTERS &. CO., .1 i G. Victoria Street. S.W 

BROKERS. 

Messrs TATIIAM. ROBINSON & HENRY. London 
Messrs T & T G FRVINE, Liverpool. 

Me&sm. FIELDER & ABERCROMBIE, Manchester 

AUDITORS. 

MCMI*. QUILTER, BALL A Co , J. Moorgate Street. E.C 

ENGINEER. 

J F BATEMAN, E|. C.E . F.R.S &.<-.. 4c 16. Great George Street. Westminster, S W. 

SECRETARY OFFICES 

Mr JOHN WILSON THEOBALD No 8. DRAPERS' GARDENS, LONDON, EC. 



THIS COKPAKY u formed for the purpose of raising Brine from thr great salt deposits on the Estate of A. H. 
Smith-Barry, Esq., of Marbury, Cheshire, conveying it in iron pipe* to the Port of Runcorn on the Mency, 
And erecting there extensive Works capable of ultimately producing 200,000 ti of Salt per annum, by which 



means it can be manufactured at a cost considerably less than nt existing works in the Salt Districts, and also 
generally for the purposes s|>ccificd in the Memorandum of Association. The arrangement* will include 
the supply of Brine in its natural state to the Chemical Manufacturers of Uuucorn, and a subsequent 
extension to Wifli^< imfi fit. Helens is also contemplated. 

\ itn these objects in vi'iiw, lliu Company uuijulres the transfer of a very valuable agreement from 
Mr. Smith-Barry for lease for a term of 99 years, at royalties under 2d. |>er ton o'f salt the rate* ordinarily 
paid in the Districts being about Gil. per ton. Important way leaves over all the intervening estate*, enabling 
the Brine ti> be conveyed from Northwieli to Runcorn, a distance of 13 miles, have alo been arranged, and 
an admirable site has been arranged for the Work? at the latter town, in close proximity to the Dock and 
Basin of the Bridgcwatcr Navigation, and including siding communication with the London and North 
Western Railway. 

By virtue of these lenses and way-leaves the Company will possess special, if not absolutely exclu- 
sive, advantages for the SUPPLY OF Ikixi: to the great consuming centres. 

The Salt trade, with the exception of Coal and Iron, is the most important mineral industry in the 
Kingdom 

The Cheshire Salt District yidds four fifth* ot t!io total (apply, furnishing 1,000,000 ton* per 
annum for exiKirt from LivurjHiul, and upwards of 400,000 to the Chemical Works of Widnes and the 
neighbouring towns. 

The existing Salt Works in the Cheshire district, though carrying on a prosperous trade, are subject 
to heavy charges in respect of dues, freights, &<:., on Salt shipped via the river Weaver to Runcorn and 
Liverpool, the rates charged to the trade being 2s. Gd. and 3s. 6d. per ton respectively ; tlio cost of common 
Salt at Northwich being about 5s. per ton. If destined for export from Uuncorn, Salt under the present 
system requires transhipment from the barges into seagoing vessels. These heavy charges will be avoided, 

ami this Company will be in a position to command the bulk of the coasting and foreign trade from 
Runcorn, averaging at present 200,000 tons per annum, and also largely supply the Liverpool 
Market. 

Coal or Slack, which is largely consumed in the manufacture of Salt, is cheaper at Runcorn than 
at Northwich. 

Bv acquiring the various concessions abovi detailed, this Company will effect a saving 

equivalent to 20 per cent, on all Salt manufactured at the Runcorn Works ; and 

this in addition to the saving in the cost of coal, while the exceptionally favourable rates on which the 
royalties are based will enable the Brine to be delivered at Uuucorn at lower charges than are generally 
paid by the salt manufacturers at Northwich. 

After the most careful calculations, including the cos: of wear and tear, &e., it is anticipated that 
the profit on the manufacture of Salt alone at Runcorn will enable the Company to pay dividends of 
at least 20 per cent, on the capital subscribed. 

A further source of eventual profit is anticipated from the supply of Brine in its natural state 
to the chemical manufacturers of Widnus, St. Helens, and Kunconi, for utilisation in various branches of 
their trade. If satisfactory arrangements can be made with the authorities and manufacturers, the Director* 
will be willing to supply Widnes with Brine by means of lighters, as soon as possible after the completion 
of the line of pipes from Northwich to Runcorn. 

The Salt Works in the Northwich district, in consequence of the continual extraction of Brine, 
nre subject to such occasional subsidences as occurred in December last, when Six Works were disabled. 
The Works of the Company at Runcorn will not be subject to such contingency; they will be built 
upon solid ground nearly 13 miles distant from the Salt Districts. 

Particular attention is called to the annexed Report of J. F. B.VTFMAN, Esq., C E., F.R.S., the 
Company's Engineer, in which the works for raising the Urine and conveying it to Runcorn are described ai 
of a very simple character. Mr. Batcmait estimates tlieir cost, exclusive of that of the Evaporating Worlu, 
at 106,000. Contracts have been entered into with Messrs. Smith, Kinlayson & Co., of Westminster, for 
the execution of the general works, ard with Messrs. James Watt &. Co., of Soho, Birmingham, for th 
machinery, at prices within the above estimate. 

The various agreements for leases and wayleavcs have been granted to Mr. Thomas Coglan Horsfall, 
but only as agent for Mr. Godfrey Joachim Aman, who is the promoter of the Company, and who join 
Mr. Horsfall in the assignment of these agreements. 

The price agreed to be paid to Mr. Aman for the transfer of these very valuable agreements i* the 
sum of 27,000 in cash, together with 1,250 fully paid-up shares in the Company of 10 c-ich. Mr. Aman 
will pay a sum of 10,000 to the trustees, in order to provide interest at the rate of 5 per cent, per annum 
on the paid-up Capital of the Company during the period of construction up to the delivery of the Brine 
at Runcorn. He also bears and will indemnify the Company against all expenses incidental to it 
formation, with the exception of the charges of its own solicitors, and a sum equivalent to IJ per cent, on 
the amount of the present issue to pay for brokerage, &c. 

Application will be made to the London Stock Exchange {or an official quotation of the Share* 
of the Company. 

The Contracts which have been entered into are the following, and may be seen at th office* 
of the Solicitors to the Company, Messrs. Baxters & Co., 5 and 6, Victoria Street, Westminster : 

On* dated the 29th da/ of March. 1881, nude between Tbomu Coglan Uorsfell of the lint port, Godfrey Joachim Amao 
of the second part, and Thomai John Wood* a Trustee for the Company of the third part, kern; tlio Agreement 
ior purchase by which the Company will acquire the Agreements for Unset therein let fortU. (object to the 
performance of the obligations by euro Leases and Agreements for Leases imposed upon the Lc-.t. : 
One dated the 13th day ol February, 1881, between Arthur Hugh Smith-Burrr and Thomas Coglan Horsfall 
One dated the 10th day of January, 1881, between Thomas Clarke and John Hir;l. field and Thomas Coglan Uorsd.ll 
One dated the 13th day of January, 1881. between Charles James Lao-ton and Thomai Coglan Uonfall 
One dated the 4th day of March, 1881, between Algernon Cnarlu. Talbot and Thomas Coglan Horsfall. 
One dated the 30th day of March, 1881, made between the said T. C Uorsfoll of the first part, the said O J Amaa 

the Company ratified and adopted the above agreement of the 29th day of March, 1881. 
One dated the 30th day of March, 1B81, made between the Company of the one part, and Messrs. Smith, Finlayioa and 

Company of the other part, being the above-mentioned contract for the construction of the general works. 
One dated the 30th day of March, 1881, made between the Company of the one part, and Messrs James Walt and 

Company of the other part, being the above-mentioned contract for the construction of the machinery 
On. dated the 23rd day of February, 1881, and mode between the Company of the one part, and Messrs Baiters and Co , 

Messrs. James Watt and Co., John Frederick Bateman, Eaq, Messrs. Smith, KiUyeon and Co., and J Wilson 

Theobald, Esq.. of the other part, exonerating the Company from cUumi in respect of prolessu>nl sernces in the 

vent of the deposited money being returned to the Shareholders. 

Application for shares may be made on the enclosed form to the Company I Banker*, Broker., or 
fcy letter addressed to the Secretary, accompanied by the deposit of 10*. per share. 



THE MERSEY SALT AND BRINE COMPANY, LIMITED. 



I some time ago examined the country between Northwtch and the River Mersty st Ranoorn. with the 
practicability and oost of constructing works for the purpose of extracting Brine from the .oliferuu* B 
cast-iron pipes from thence to Runoorn, to be there evaporated and manufactured into salt 

I am informed that arrangements have been made with sir Smith-Barry, M.P.. the owner of the Sfirbm r C*iate Tor the erection of th* 
nisMiy pumping works near Anderton, and for war-leave for the p:pe through hioJ.Iarl.ut r property Arrangements have aUo been made for 
way leave for the line of pipes through the land of different owner, throughout the whole distance 'from iho Marbury Estate to Rnncom, for 
land for the construction of a reservoir on the summit of tac ground to be crossed, and for land for the manufacturing works at Runeorn. in close* 
proximity to the docks and eanals of the Bndgewater Navigation. 



No works could be easier of coniiruction. They are simply waterworks of tbe most ordinary character*, the water to be pumped ktmg 
Ut instead of fresh The only difficulty exists in the unstable condition of the ground io which the shafts U> rcicJi the bnne must b* sunk, ana 
oat which the pumping stations for the extraction of the brine must be constructed. 

The brine is produced by the i 

enbeidcnoee of the ground an tbe consequence Tbe neighbour hood of Xor'hwich ethibiU i 
ground which now appears perfectly stable may, by-and-by. give way. nnd a disturbance of UK 

eircumstances and their attendant difficulties are, however, inseparable from the nature of the rook and the operatt 
establish men ta are subject to them, not only in respect to their brine shafts and pumping arrangements , bat then 
evaporation and manufacture of the salt, whenever tbe land subsides, necessitates large outlay in repairs and renewals. 

In order to t 

established at some distance apart, and that at each of the station* duplicate engines and pumps i 
prevent any serions interruption in the business of the Company. By the adoption of Om course, we ma 
staUou should create temporary inconTenienoo and interruption, the other would probably remain unduU 

Tbe brine extracted at each station would be conveyed to a site on the Marbury property, st which, from its geologies] condition, there 
awed be no apprehension of subsidence At this place, which, for convenience, should be io clow contiguity to tbe Treat and Mersey Canal. 
aaoUter pumping station should be established for the purpose tif forcing the bnne to tbe umrrut of the ground to be passed over. Tin* *uinmit 
is reached at Seven Acre Wood on the Aston E*ut* about four sod a haM auk* from tbe Marbary pumping or forcing station 
This ground is at an elevation of about 200 feet above the Ordnance Datum, and bore a rf-Tvoir to hold a snlncirnt quanUty c.f trine in 
reserve against the contingency of ft dry season curtailing the supply from th* reck itself would be constructed, and s pipe tbence would convey 
the brine to tbe site of the proposed evaporation works at Runoorn 

The pampas* or forcing sUfcoa near Marbury would be placed on ground which wmiM he sboul forty or fifty fr- 1 above the OnlnaM 
Datum The direct lift to the summit reservoir would, therefore, be about l^i> fee: and allowing ten feet per milt for friction for io,r and 
a half miles, the foros to bo exejted would be equal to a lift of 200 feet 

i it is proposed to eiUblwh works equal to th* axtractica 

It would require about 105 H.P working 12 hours per day. to lift this quantity of fmh water from a depth of '.'CO feet, end as the 
brine at Xorthwicb i just one-fifth heavier than fresh wster. tbe net power required would be 12C horai The nan power would U required: 
to force the brine when lifted to the ramtnit reservoir at Seven Acre Wood, as the height pH. the friction would be the same .1 therefore. 
recommend that at each of the two bnne pumping stations duplicate engines of .70 H P each, with the requisite pumps, should b> eroctcj. The 
*-"***. *n*rina workins; together, at either station, will raise tbe qjianuty required in ten or twelve hours, or, when both stations are at work, 

~h. ^^^^S^'l^^^^^l^^j^i a ?.-Z!!"JT it ** " "*- d " E - to <' " 

engine, the other would be nffieient for the porpoae by working Light and dav 

...id pa^^r L-t STSJK itite...tsUiSa5^^ Tb - 

Fromthe 



, If economioJljr omrmd out ud propnlr workJ wopld b. h: e hij remanenure to the ShjrcbolJen. 
Your nrj obedioot itrrmt, 

(&frod) JOHN KBED^ BATEMA.V. 

CB. FBSS, London * Edim. 

APPENDIX TO ME. BATEKAN'S EFPORT 

MJCBOSCOPICAL AND CHEMICAL LABOBATOXT. 

SOBTBWICH. CHESB1CE 
Specift tceigU of Brim otla.W in .Vorl/.ir.ei 





Bpnilo Or.nty 


W f .; ^71 

Ckdji 


wrt,^.,o, 


C>pt>m Towhendi Shaft, MmtoD ... 
Lord Sunley'p Shaft, No. 1. AndertoD .. 
Lori SUnleri Shaft, No. 2. Andwton .. 


1-206 
1-204 
1-204 


12-06 Iba. 
1504 


Ti:i: iba 

Ti-26 


Bnuati Salt Companr'i Shaft. Aadenoo. .. 
Joph Terdin * Son's Shaft. Martton 


1203 
1106 


IJ-lU 
12 M 


7418 

we 



The reapectire waighta were taken at CO defreee Fahrenheit, on' a Knaitire chemical halajua. 

(SjJ) CHAJU.1 

ir, epecinc graTity 1 Weight per ceb.c loot, ILe 62 tii. 



SALT ASSOCIATIONS. 

Long before the idea of the Salt Union engaged the attention of its 
ingenious promoters, salt makers had frequently and strenuously exerted 
themselves to obtain control of the trade and regulate prices, and, with not 
a little success, they closed up their ranks when occasion required, to squeeze 
out anyone who had the audacity to enter into competition with the salt 
" ring." It is not necessary to trace back the efforts of the salt men prior 
to 1823, when William Furnival erected works at Droitwich. Five years 
later Furnival appeared at Wharton in Cheshire, and attempted to get a 
footing in the salt industry. He had previously erected works in Belgium 
and France, where he found himself opposed to the combined hostility of the 
salt manufacturers of both countries. In France they preferred a charge 
against the intrusive Englishman, and succeeded in clapping him in gaol, 
but he made his escape after four months' incarceration, and returned to 
Winsford in Cheshire, where from 1830 to 1832 he was engaged in the manu- 
facture of salt. In 1833 he published a statement of his experiences, from 
which one obtains some idea of the lengths to which the salt men of the period 
were prepared to go in dealing with their commercial rivals. 

Since that time all sorts of associations, syndicates, trusts, committees, 
pools and companies have been formed by the persons engaged in the salt 
trade for the purpose of regulating the prices of the salt. 

On 2ist May, 1846, a general meeting of the White Salt Trade, held at 
the Angel Inn, Northwich, was attended by twenty-two salt makers, or 
representatives of salt companies. Mr. Henry Ashton presided, and a com- 
mittee was appointed 

" To ascertain the Stocks of Salt now on hand and to recommend such 
a Curtailment of Make as they may think proper with reference to such 
Stocks and the prospect of demand." 

Further resolutions were carried to the effect that prices of salt be fixed from 
this day until some plan is arranged by the proposed committee for cur- 
tailing the make as follows : 

Common .. .. .. 10/6 

Butter 12/6 

Shute Stoved 15/6 

Handed Lumps .. .. 16/6 

And that no contracts be entered into until after the next meeting. 

In 1850 there was in existence a committee, or syndicate, composed of 
all the salt makers of Northwich and Winsford, and statements were regularly 
issued giving the number of shares held by each proprietor, the number 



16 SALT ASSOCIATIONS. 

being regulated by their output of salt. These lists are so interesting that 
I shall take an early opportunity of publishing some of them in full elsewhere. 

In the year 1866 various meetings of the salt trade were held under the 
auspices of the Salt Chamber of Commerce, and on i6th January, at a meeting 
presided over by Mr. H. E. Falk, it was resolved : 

" To leave the present make undisturbed until the ist March, when 
stocks will probably be entirely consumed, and the committee then 
recommend the trade to resume work with their full capacities. The 
committee further recommend that prices shall be advanced on the 
ist March for all descriptions of salt i /- per ton." 

This committee appears to have controlled the trade for some years, and 
the chair, at the various meetings, was generally taken by Mr. H. E. Falk. 

In the year 1877 a Salt Trade Pool was formed, presumably to deal with 
the altered position, as, in August of that year, the committee reported 

" That Mr. Corbett, having declined to join Cheshire in the proposed 
scheme for amending the position of the Trade, the Committee declare 
his refusal should not stop the further elaboration of the scheme." 

On i6th October, 1877, at a meeting at Northwich of the White Salt 
manufacturers, it was resolved to form themselves into an association called 
the White Salt Association. The Association issued printed sheets giving 
the names of the makes and pannage, &c. 

In 1888 the Salt Union was formed, and the Board immediately set to 
work to try and regulate the prices. They had of course by acquiring so 
many works, obtained control of practically the whole of the output, and in 
many cases they had special arrangements with makers and distributors. 
Although they only took over the properties in November of that year, they 
issued, in the same month, a statement to their distributors fixing the prices 
at which the salt was to be sold at the works. Ths following table, which 
has been carefully compiled from the printed sheets issued by the Salt Union, 
will be of interest as showing the various alterations they fixed in the prices 
of the salt. 



q .2 






O) 

^3 



g -e 



<u 
J3 



a 

<S) g 

-t- 1 

o 13 



. _ u (-1 

ufl o S 

U 1 

*S "S *j 



v 


1 1 vo vo 1 1 VO 1 1 


i j^ 


o 


1 


1 


4^ 


,0 > 

OO >j 


OvOTf"-"OvoCON w 


VO vo 


* 


in 


in 





^ 














o\ 

-* l-t 


1 1 vo vo 1 1 vo 1 1 


1 1 




1 




M 


g| 


OOOsi-iOvocoNi-i 


vo (S 


Ov 





in 


vo 


S 














M > 


I vo vo vo 1 1 vo 1 1 


1 1 


^c 


1 


1 


1 


00 V 


>NS.^!? 


vo O 


0. 


O 



O 

tf 


O 
co 


o &\ 
o\ " 

00 


1 1 1 1 vo 1 1 VO 1 1 
^* vo vo O i i O vo co c*l - 


J^ J^ 


1 


J^ 
c 

N 


^ 


"S 


<* " 

00 a 




OO'-'OOOvocoNi-i 


ii- 




i. 


O 


-L 


* 














OS ". 


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 vo 1 1 


i i 




1 


1 


i 


00 <S 


OO | -iOO\OOoo^i-i 

Tj-TJ-COCO VOCSl-HI-ll-l 


- - 




S 


o 


co 


OO 


1 1 1 1 vo 1 1 vo 1 1 


i i 


1 


.1 


.1 


1 


Si 


OO'-'OtxOOoONi-i 
^Tj-NM VOMWMI-I 


vo 1-1 


IT' 


Oi 


s 


O 


00 -J 

00 
00 


II vo 1 vo 1 1 
O 1-1 ix O oo c^ -< 


5 







et 
f> 























ff ^^ 














be "O 
'53 c 

o *e 








1 

4! 




b w 


o> <u 
> > 

O O 






B 


c/5 

a 




4) J* 
co -rt 43 tn 

" g - 

C 3^3 ^ 8? 

' : ? s ^ - "S J 

5 ^nJ-^^^^C 

j * g III *! 
1-s'sl l^5il 

S & 3 c s"^ *? 8 9 

KoXXWc 


C/5 C/5 

<U <U 
tU fTt 

bb 



CJ O 

rr. Fr. 


Broken Stoved . 


u 

O 

-M 

3 
S 
4) 


1 
B 

H 


h 
| 

Q 
M 



THE SALT UNION. 
PRICES OF SALT FOR DECEMBER, 1888. 



Deeeriptloe < felt. 


'tssr 


Pa el deling. 




MIDDLE GRAIN SALT 


/. 


Work. 




HANDED SQUARE8- 
Inlud Trade, 80 lump, to lK In 
lUOorlJO do. do. 
Coo*, for Inland 


!!/- 
H/- 
!/- 


Work. 
Work. 
Work. 


Tao hire. l/ per loe, d 

lUilw., r.u. 1. aKi. 


BROKEN LUMPS 


to/. <. 


Work. 




COMMON or CLEAN BROAD fee Curing. Agricultural, 
and |iurpoeM other than Chemical 
Soiled Agricultural 


10/1 
/ 


Work. 
Work., 


W^oo Un I/- par tarn, 
ad ril-y nu to 8t*- 
Uoo o( darliaaUea 


COMMON SALT for Chemicalparpoeai, 11 month.' Contract 
from Hit December, 1888, onl.T 


7/ 


Work. 


"SJC^J-S 
M- w-*- Mn * <** 


COM WON SALT in Boat, for Chemical parpoees, U month.' 
Contract from Slit Deo-moer, 1888, onlj 


7/6 


Work. 




BAY SALT, "loved 
DO. UMtored 


SO/- 
45/- 


Work. 
Work. 




XX ROUGH SALT 
X do do ... . 


/- 


Work. 


WHOO bin. I/. pr fan. 


BEST SCOTCH FISHERY SALT 
SECOND CLASS do. do 


l*/- 
"/ 


Work. 
Work. 


Mot by rtul Mlt*M. 


FACTORY-FILLED STOVED SALT for E.port ... 


14,'- 


Work. 




FACTORY-FILLED STOVED SALT, Inland 


*!/- 


Work. 


14 t*r IM StMUeW to kMHiM 


BROKEN STOVED for Chemical Work., on Contract ... 


15/- 


Work. 




CALCUTTA SALT, aaj half ShnUe; half Bntlr 
Shute. for Afri.-an Mirkrt, half Indian aqnarea, half Butter Salt 


!$/- 
14/6 


Liverpool 
Lirerpool 




FINE BUTTER SALT (or Coait.it. and Inland 


r- 
it/ 
n/ 


Liverpool 




MARINE SALT for Coe.twi.e Shipment only 


/- 


.Work. 




PATENT BUTTER SALT for Foreign or Coertiriee 
Shipment 


/ 


Work. 




TREBLE REFINED TABLE SALT ... 


l 


Work. 


"c2.tS5Jir2.ar 4 


EXTRA DAIRY or FINE SIFTED SALT 


SO/- 


Work. 




GRAINY SALT from Fine Dairy 


IS/. 


Work. 




COMMON SALT 
For ihipment and for Chemical purpose* 


10/6 

9/. 


Liverpool 
Kuncorn or Wecton 




Kom- Wbei.piae.0/ deliver, t. MM e> at " Work.,- H 1. tndentood 
that Hirer Frnjkt I, per too to Liverpool, or !/ per too u, 
W-to. nr lU-Lra, i. U be >U1 wW, the Salt fc .Upnd at 
tboaf mrU. U >| per ceat. to dteUihrlote. T 








BAGGING SALT, at Wurka including Grinding. 






h ew e( liiAreat ebai 








L^TL^i""* 1 *' 


JcwtSacka 


\s 






BAGGING UNSTOVED 8ALT8- 








} cot. 8ark and up<rardl ... * 


"/- 






R CK Se%c l ted T Laiiip Bock Halt for Cattle, Inland Orden 

Do. do. Shipment, SI 
cwu. to the ton. '| 

Cnabed Ilock Salt for Bhip't Timber, (bj Bail) 
Do. do. do. 
Prnuian Rock Jo. do 


B 

28/6 

tat 

/- 

15/ 
14/0 
/ 
!/- 
l*/- 


Work. 
Liverpool 
Boncorn or Wealon 
Work. 
Uverpool 

Work." 
Liverpool 
Liverpool 




PRUSSIAN ROCK SALT for Chemical Work. 
Do. lor Coaatwite Shipment 
Do. <"r Foreign Shipment 
CRUSHED ROCK for anjr r-ort 
FINE SCREENED ROCK 

DUST ROCK SALT fcr Hargrea.m Proce*. .. 

SCREENED ROCK SALT for Eiport.. ... j 


/- 
/ 
7/ 
/ 
/ 
0/ 
lit 
M 

i 

8/ 


Work. 
Roneorn nr Weaton 
Liverpool 
Liverpool 

Rnncorn nr Weaton 

Work. 
Work. 
Rancorn or Wertou 




SOILED SALT for Chemical porpoar. 


2/- leu than 
Common Salt 






SCREENED ROCK SALT for Contract, for Chemical Work, 


6/6 


Work. 




SURFACE SALT 


s/- 


Wo*. 




CRUSHED ROCK SALT lor extracting purpoxe ... 


/- 


Work. 





THE SALT UNION. 
PRICES OF SALT FOR MARCH, 1889. 



D-^.S.,, 


Pnee per i leu 
Dbtribiiuci. 


Plue of Dtlnery. 




MIDDLE GRAIN SALT 


+/- 


Works 




BRISK SALT 


4/- 


Works 


BJCtin^*,:., 11. Kklilioo. 


HANDED SQUARES- 
Inland Trade. 80 lumps la the ton 
Smaller siies ... 
Cones for Inland 


i'l- 
S'l- 

)'/- 


Works 
Works 
Works 


Vn Kite. 1/6 per Ion. lad 


BROKEN LUMPS 


SO/- 


Works 




COMMON or CLEAN BROAD for Curing. Agricultural, 
and purposes other than Chemical Contract! . 
Soiled Agricultural 


10/6 

0/6 


Works 
Works 


Wigon hire. I/, per too. 
nd nilwiy nte to SCA- 
tion of denimtion i> 


COMMON SALT for Chemical purposes. Contract only 
to Jltt December. 1889 


7/' 


Works 


wV. UK ti. ^ m, "J 

Rulny nu , ujdilwa. 

pUc* Wi^n, hinb lo h( K 


COMMON SALT in Boats for Chemical purposes, on 


7/' 


Works 




BAY SALT. Stoved .. 


so/- 


Works 




XX ROUGH SALT .. 

BEST SCOTCHFISHERY SALT '.'. '.'. .'. 
SECOND CLASS do. do 


so/. 
.8/6 

"/- 


Works 
Works 
Works 
Work, 


W,p,n bin. I, per iua. 
ud Rulwiy ntei oho 
tent by rail in addition. 


FACTORY-FILLED STOVED SALT in sacks or bags 
fnr Foreign Export . . 


sit 


Works 


B.Bin..bA. 


FACTORY-FILLED STOVED SALT. Inland .. 


}! 


Woiks 


Baiting y In, 11 bHow 


BROKEN STOVED for Chemical Works, on Contract . . 


is/- 


Works 




CALCUTTA SALT, and for other Eastern markets, say 




Live 




Shutes for African Market, half Indian squares, half Butter 
Salt, in bulk only 


17/6 


Liverpool 


"tJKSkiX, '""' "*' 


FINE BUTTER SALT 


H/6 
i)/6 


Works 
Liverpool 




MARINE SALT 


ii/. 


Works 




PATENT BUTTER SALT 


"/ 


Works 




EXTRA DAIRY or FINE SIFTED SALT, in sacks of 

bags for Foreign Export. . . 
Ditto Inland .. 


J'/- 
)</- 


Works 
Works 




GRAINY SALT from Fine Dairy 


|8/. 


Works 




COMMON SALT .. 

For Shipment 
For Australasia . 


,0/6 
9/6 

,1,6 


Liverpool 

Works 
Liverpool 




NOTE. Where pb of delivery ii imed u t " Worki." it ii underrtood 








i cwt. Sacks 
lew. Sacks 


'/6 
1/6 




In eue ol dilfcnni .,., 
10 per crnt. lo be d.led 
to co of b-jain,. 


BAGGING UNSTOVED 8ALT8- 
t cwt. Sacks and upwards 
1 cwt. Sacks and upwards 


!d. 
'/- 






ROCK SALT- ( 

Selected Lump Rock Salt for Cattle. Inland Orders J 

Do. do. Shipment, it ( 
cwts. to the ton. ) 
Prussian Rock for Inland 
Crushed Rock Salt for Ship's Timbers (by Rail) 
Do. do. do. 
Prussian Rock do. do 


.& 
i 

15/6 
14/6 
1/6 
0/6 
')/ 
is/. 


Works 
Liverpool 

Works 
Liverpool 

Works 
Liverpool 
Liverpool 




PRUSSIAN ROCK SALT for Chemical Works. Contract 
only to jtst December . 
Do. do. Tor Coastwise Shipment 
Do. do. for Foreign Shipment 
CRUSHED ROCK for Coastwise or Foreign SRipment j 
FINE SCREENED ROCK 
DUST ROCK SALT for Hargreaves Process 
FINE CRUSHED OR SCREENED ROCK SALT for ( 
Eiport | 
SCREENED ROCKSALT for Contracts for Chemical Works 
CRUSH ED ROCK SALT for ealracting purposes 


it 

6/6 
7/5 
5/5 
4/9 

K 

7/ 
,/6 
6/6 

K) 

6/6 

. S/ 


Works 

Liverpool 
Liverpool 
RuncomorWestoti 

Liverpool 
Worki 
Works 

Liverpool 
Works 
Works 




SOILED SALT for Chemical purposs 


>/ less than 
Common Salt 






SURFACE SALT 


/- 


Works 





g S 

M IK 

as 



w 

HH M 




ft 



m 

.7*1? 



KOM O Su- U- Ul< a)S 






U* 



Ifi 



*8S2 ', 
"oS ; 



2 

ft % 
I" * 

iHl 

n i 

ii 1 



! i 
I ; 



\ J 



11 



. 






Zo.il 
S? 1 ! 



ll 

ii-ou 



THE SALT UNION. 

PRICES OF SALT FOR THE CHESHIRE AND WORCESTERSHIRE 
DISTRICTS FOR MARCH, 1891. 










22 THE SALT ASSOCIATION. 

In 1898 the North-Eastern Company was formed, under the auspices of 
the Salt Union, for the purpose of regulating the salt trade of the northern 
districts, principally of Middlesbrough. In this concern the Salt Union 
held 599 shares, Tees Salt Company 399, Cleveland Salt Company 299, 
Middlesbrough Estate, Limited, 197, and Cerebos, Limited, 200 shares. 
Mr. G. H. Cox, the Chairman of the Salt Union, was a director of the North- 
Eastern Company. 

In 1899 we find the British Salt Association regulating the prices of the 
salt and issuing lists to the trade. 

In 1906 the North- Western Salt Company, Limited, was formed, ap- 
parently for the purpose of regulating certain salt business with the United 
Alkali Company. In this North-Western Company the Salt Union held 
3,586 shares, and the United Alkali 171 shares. 

In 1907 London Merchants, Limited, was formed for the purpose of 
buying and selling salt, and to carry on the business of salt merchants. 
Among the Directors were Mr. G. H. Cox (Director of Salt Union), Henry 
Seddon, F. G. Hamlett, &c. The shareholders were as follows : 

Shareholders. A . B. 

Weston & Westall, Ltd 423 530 

London Salt Company, Limited . . 160 240 

Manger & Sons, Limited.. .. .. 120 70 

Messrs. Arthur, Edwin & F. G. Hamlett 60 50 

Bumsted & Co., Limited. . .. .. 230 no 

In 1908 Messrs. Weston & Westall, Ltd., became a private company, 
with a capital of ^20,000, consisting of 2,000 shares of 10 each, the Salt 
Union holding 1,425 shares out of a total of 1,500 issued. The directors in 
1910 were : Messrs. Alexander, Beazley, Cox, Falk, and Sir Thomas Royden, 
all Salt Union directors. There were eighteen shareholders, all of whom 
were connected with the Salt Union. 

In 1911 the British Salt Association, Ltd., was formed by seven 
members of the old North-Western Salt Company, Ltd., but ten manufac- 
turers elected to remain outside the combination, which was broken up in 
the following year. 



THE 

COMING OF THE SALT TRUST. 



Reprinted from "The Times." 

The Chester Chronicle of to-day says that the efforts to form the great 
Salt Trust have succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations. 
Representatives of five of the largest firms in the Cheshire salt trade will be 
chosen as directors. The promoters purpose identifying the new under- 
taking with the district, and the central offices will be at Northwich. The 
shares are being largely taken up in Cheshire. In this way those who have 
suffered severely through the subsidence of their lands have a prospect of 
deriving some benefit from a trade which hitherto has caused them little 
but loss and annoyance. Replying to a criticism in the Chronicle, that 
the new Trust will disastrously affect the chemical manufacturers, who use 
salt very largely, one of the influential promoters of the Trust replies that 
they are not likely to injure such good customers, and thereby lessen the 
demand for salt. Will they not, asks the writer, rather benefit the chemical 
trade by warding off competition with them ? And he adds : "It seems 
to me that the effect of the new combination will be to benefit the salt 
industry by enabling the salt producers to obtain a fair return on their 
capital and to injure nobody ; for if the chemical traders are supplied at 
low rates for manufacturing purposes, the general consumers will be the 
persons to pay more, and the increase to them will be so infinitesimal that 
they will not know they pay more unless you tell them." The Chronicle 
adds : " On undoubted authority " that the purchase prices of the various 
salt works have been adjusted, and that the capital of the Trust will be 
between two and three millions. Possession of the Cheshire Saltfields will 
be entered upon early in November. 

To-day's Northwich Chronicle states that all the Cheshire salt works have 
been provisionally acquired by a London syndicate, represented by Messrs. 
Fowler & Co., Solicitors, Westminster, and negotiations are proceeding 
favourably to purchase all the less extensive works situate in Worcestershire 
and Durham. The vendors take one-third in shares. The capital required, 
provisionally fixed at ^3,000,000, has been subscribed in advance times 
over. In the allotment preference will be given to those connected with 
the salt trade, and to those who have suffered losses through the subsidence 



24 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

of land owing to brine pumping. In consequence of the monopoly thus 
created, it is expected that the price of common salt, now 2/6 a ton, will 
rise to io/- Nearly two million tons are sold annually. 

September i5th, 1888. 

THE GREAT SALT SYNDICATE. The first meeting of the Directors of the 
Salt Syndicate was held yesterday ; the proceedings were private. It is 
understood that every Cheshire salt proprietor has given in his adhesion to 
the scheme, and has sold on the terms proposed, namely, two-thirds of the 
purchase money in cash and one-third in shares. The principle on which 
the valuation was made has not come out, but it is generally known that the 
selling price has been quite satisfactory to the vendors. Agreements have 
been entered into, and the syndicate will take possession of the works in 
November. In addition to the six salt proprietors who have been placed 
upon the directorate, several members of different firms have been appointed 
managers of works. 

September 27th, 1888. 



The Share List wiJI close on OP before Friday, October 12th. 

Messrs. MORTON, ROSE & Co. are authorized to invite Application* for 
the Shares and Debentures of 

THE SALT UNION 

LIMITED. 

Incorporated under the Companies Acts, 1862 to 1888. 

CAPITAL 3,000,000, IN SHARES OF 10 EACH- 

DIVIDED INTO 

2OO,OOO Ordinary Shares of 4310 each, 

1OO,OOO Seven per cent. Preference Shares of J31O each. 



After the' last payment the Shares may be converted into Stock, transferable in any amounts of not leu than 10. 
About 900,000 of Hie Ordinary Share Capital is Subscribed bf the Vendors of Salt Properties and Lands. 

Subscriptions are also invited for 1,000,000 in 4-J- per Cent. First Mortgage Debenture 
Stock in amounts of 100 each, and payable 10 per Cent, on application; IS per, Cent. 
on allotment; 25 per Cent, on 1st November; 25 per Cent, on 1st December; 25 per Cant. 

on 1st January next. 

Bach Stock to be transferable in amounts of not less than 10. This Stock will be secured upon the entire property 
of the Company, and the Interest will be payable half-yearly on the 1st January and 1st July. 

gonrb of gtrectors. 

(Raima* THX RIOBT HON. LORD THURLOW, P.O., 33, Chesham Place, London, 8.W. 
Deputy Chairman -JOHN CORBETT, Esq., M.P., Impney, Droitwich, (Stoke Prior Salt Works, 'Worcestershire). 
JOSEPH -VERDIN. Esq., The Brockhurst, Northwich, (Messrs. JOSEPH VEEDW & SONS, Salt Proprietors, 

Winsford], Managing Director Cheshire District 

HON. A. LIONEL ASHLEY, Audley Mansions, S. W., ( Director Hand in Hand Fire and Life Insurance Society). 
GEORGE HENRY DEAKIN, Esq., Davenham House, Northwich, (Director Messrs. GIOEQE DIUUB, 

LIMITED, Salt Proprietors, Winsford). 

HERMAN JOHN FALK, Esq., 65. South John Street, Liverpool. 

PASCOE ST. LEGEB GHENFELL, Esq. (Messrs. MORTON, ROSE & Co., Bartholomew Lane, E.C.) 
E. 8. BARING-GOULD, Esq., Boigrove Lodge, Guildford, Surrey. 
RICHARD GRIGG, Esq. (Managing Director South Durham Salt Company, Limited), Managing Director 

Middlesborough District. 
CHRISTOPHER KAY, Esq., Davenham Hall, Northwich, (Chairman Cheshire Amalgamated Salt Work* 

Company, Limited). 

THE HON. CHARLES WILLIAM MILLS, M.P. (Messrs. GLTO, MILLS, CCRRIE &, Co., 67, Lombard St, E.C.) 
WALTER ROBINSON, Esq., 20, Gledhow Gardens, London, S.W.. (Director Great Western Railway Co.) 
JAMES STUBBS, Esq., (Messrs. STOBBS BsoTirens, National Salt Works, Winsford, Cheshire). 
WILLIAM HENRY VERDIN, Esq., Uiglifield House, Winsford, (Messrs. JOSEPH VEBMM & Som, Salt 
Proprietors, Winsford). 

Will join the Board after allotment. 

$ocal Committees of i$tanagement. 

Several of the Vendors may from time to time be formed into Local Committees of Management under'tho 
direction of the Board. 

ganhers. 

Messrs. GLYN, MILLS, CURRIE 4 Co., 67, Lombard Street, London, E.G. 

PARR'S BANKING COMPANY, Ld., Warrington, Liverpool, Northwich, Winsford, Sandbach, and other Branches. 
UNION BANK OF MANCHESTER, Ld., Manchester, Northwich, Winsford, Middlewich, and other Branches. 

giolfcitora. 

Messrs. ASHURST, MORRIS, CRISP & Co., 6, Old Jewry, London, E.C. 

gftock JH-oltcvs. 

London Messrs. BILLETT, CAMPBELL & CO., 6, Copthall Building*, E.C.; nd Stock Exchango, 
Liverpool Messrs. A. M. McCULLOCH & CO., 18, Dale Street. 

Messrs. WM. CHAMBRES & CO., 8, Dale Street. 
Manchester Messrs. HODSON & COPPOCK, Commercial Buildings. 
Cliugov Messrs. OUTRAM & HAMILTON, 48, West George Street. 

tbitor. 

Messrs. COOPER BROTHERS & CO., Chartered Accountants, 14, George Street, London, E.C. 
Messrs. HARMOOD, BANNER & SONS, Chartered Accountant*, Liverpool 

Hlamuu'i'i tTljcnljivc Cliotvict. 
THOMAS WARD, Esq., J.P., Northwich, Cheshire. 



raie (Offices.. 

WINSFORD, NORTHWICH, DHOITW1CH, UIDDLE8BOHOUGH, urn CARRICKFERGUS. 

ectat:tj. llegiaieveo Office. 

EDMUND C. WICKES, Esq. 6ALTERS' HALL COURT. LONDON, E.C. 



1. THE OBJECT OF THE COMPANY is to consolidate the undertakings of the Salt Proprietor* 
in the United Kingdom, with a view to ending reckless competition which injuriously affecU the Salt mJus'.gr. 
without conferring any adequate advantage on the g uUic. 



1 THE PROPERTIES TO BE ACQUIRED OR CONTROLLED BY THE COMPANY 
rf great extent and magnitude. Some of the Salt ftnnt lure been eitabliahed upwarda of a century ; 
their Salt hranda an known throughout the ciriUied world, and the benefit of their penonal buaineea 
ennnectiona will for the moat part be. ttreaerred. The Properties include Freehold and Leaaohold ealt, brine and 
other lande, brine ibafta, worka, buildingl. aalt pant, railway aiding*, tramwari and linea into worka ; tteimen, 
boata, flat*, bargee, git worka, locoootirea, railway trucka and rani, quart, landing itagea. timber rarda, 
fitting ahopa, warehouaee, boraea, poniea, rehiclea, oottaget for workmen, brick-yarde,* railway and rirer 
eommunicaiiona, and factorial for making mot of the nrticlea required in the trade, rendering the aggregate 
piupaitj one of the largeat and mott complete in the kingdom. 

S The following an the FIRMS, COMPANIES and PERSONS between whom and Mr. ROBOT 
Fowua, of Victoria Manaiona, Weetminater, Contracu and Termt for Sale and purchaaa, or Leating, or 



ncnung, uaro 


Datat of OonlraoU, 


NAMES OF PARTIES. 


1888. 


Meaan Jopb V.tdin a William H.nry Tirdu-Mnan. JOSEPH VEHDD) a BONS. Adelaide. Victoria, 






Kmgnfi Granee. N.wonda.. Ciroo'i Quay. Wbarlon M*io. DirkeiJaad and Wiiufcrd gall WQI.J, and 
AdT;d ar,d Beron'i Quay Bock Salt Minea .. . . . . .. 


IMhJolj 


4th BeyL 


Hi. JOHN CORBETT. M.P.. Stoke Prior Sail Worka. Woreaelmhire 




HhOaa. 


Ut. QinMopUr Kar.on Mult of THE CHESHIRE AMALGAMATED SALT WORKS COMPACT, LIMITED. 






Nonhwich. While Hall, Melkiiu Bank. Wbeelock and Wharton Sail Worka. 


HthJalj 


KhSefa. 


Etu.liolJ.ri it Mtun GEORGE DEAKLV. LIMITED. Bcetock. Wharton and On* Sail Worka, Wiaabrd ... 




TihBept 


Mr JOSEPH EVANS. Winiford Sail Work. .. 




4lhOct 


lit. HERMAN El'GEXE FALK. Meadow Dank Sill Worki aid Bock Salt MinM-WinlM. 


ICtkAif. 


TihSept. 


Mr WILLIAM WOBTHIXGTON. Star.. UrWicb and WHM Salt Worka, Boca Salt Mini and Salt Lande 


lilbJalj 


lllh Bert. 


Menu. Robert Stubbf Jobo Stubb*. William Slubbe, Cbarlee Slufcbe, Samoa) Slubbe. JUSM Slnbbe, and 






Rwbcn Swbbe Meean. STl'BBS BBOTHERS. National and Little Undo* Salt Worka, Wuulord .. 


21tAj. 


7th Sept. 


Mr. Tbomas Hinin. on bilidf of THE El'BEEA SALT MAXITACTL'WSO COMTAXY. LIMITED. 






Andtruo and Worboiaa Salt Worka. and Tbomai Hfir * Co. 


UthJalj 


MOca. 


Mr Jonn Bigln, on behalf of THE WHEELOCK IBOX AND SALT COMPANY. LtmiUd. (tall portion ocJj). 


... 


TthoVpt. 


iUora. n-Uliaa Suoutraod ind Gf. Kuknam. tradiD| u TEE BRITISH SALT COMPANY. Bniub Salt 
Worki And*rtoa > - - ... 




alh Sept. 


Uoan. THOS. RAYXEB a CO.. LIMITED. SJt Worka, Wincban 


lllkJolj 


alhScft. 


Tnz SIAKSTON HALL SALT COMPANY. LIMITED, (late Wauu Hiraa * So) Uanlon BaO Whin 
Sail Worka and Bock Sail Hum 


14th July 


6lh Od 


llr. JOHN THOUTSON Willow Bank Onr. and Witton Ball Ball Worki and Rock Salt Ilina, Nortlwich. 


UthJalj 


ilhSapl 


llm/i Jobn Siopaoo, Oabrial Looker DanM. and Bobnt Niwton Darin tradini aa Uaiani BIMP60X, 






DA VIES A SONS. Ueadnr, Moalwn Hall and PiffoUa' Bait Work*. Winaford. 


16lh Jal; 


SlhS.pl. 


Uaan WILLIAM a ROBERT HICKSOS. Enicbfi Oranai Sab Worka ... 


ISlhJidy 


7lhS.pt 


llr. WILLIAM HICESON. Wilmington New and Br* Flat Salt Worka. w 


KXhJalj 


7lhS.pt. 


COLONEL TIIOMAS HOEATIO MARSHALL. Tba Dana BaX Worka and Lanoa, Norftwich 


IltbJulj 


t4thS.pt. 


llr ALFRED JABEZ THOMPSON. AlUanoa WhiU Ball Worka. tlanton 


llth Julj 


6lhS.pt. 


U*tn. Jotmion Fletcher and TlOEii Junta Bb;. trading a> FLETCEEB * EIOBY, Uanlon Old Salt 
Workf and Rock Salt Uinta 


19th Jar/ 


6th SMA 


Mr JOHNSON FLETCHER, liarstoo Boek Salt Uint Horthwich 


17th Jalj 


owi oepL 

* ^. 


llr. JOHNSON FLETCHER on behalf of bimaalf and otuara, OUcnbaw Lana Ball Worki and Bock Salt Mini 


21 July 


.... ^*. . 
OthcWpc 


Ur. C A. UeDowall. trading aa Haeara S. ASHTOX a SONS. Salt Worka and Landa, Xonhvich 


lath III; 


IMEeac 


kr. HENRY LVGRAM THOMPSON, bland, and Wiijw Bank Worka. Winabrd. and Wilton Hall Salt Worki, 
Korthwicb 


IMh July 


ath Sept. 


Uaam. THOMAS GIBSON a Co.. AaoaRon Ball Worka 


ifchJulj 


Ui Sept. 


llr. Biciard Hecr. Yacniani. trading ai Maaan. YEOUANB a Co., Wincham Old Salt Worki 


12tb July 


4Ui8apl 


Mr. JOHX HOWABTH PADGETT. Brookdale Salt Worka, Korthwiah 


llth July 


4thS.pi. 


Maaara. John a Henr; Parka, trading ai Miaara. PABES BBOTHEBS. Wincnam Bait Worka, Nonhwich ... 


11th July 


4thS.pl. 


Ml. WILLIAM PABES. OUcrabaw Lana Salt Worka ... .. 


28rdAng. 


7th Sept 


Mra [CATHERINE LOVETT. Andarton and Witla B.-v^ Bait Woifct . ... 


KHhJuly 


4thS.pt. 


Mr GEORGE CAPPEB. 6;i Wcrka. Winafari _ 


llth July 


lllS.pt 


Mr EDMUND LEIGH. Sal: Worii, Winafcrd ___.._ 


10th July 


4th Sept. 


Mr RICKABD YEOMAKS. Tbe DaL-r Salt Werka. HiUkwieb ... . 


ISihJalj 


4th Sept 


Maaara William Sadden a Jobn Barron. trairg u Uiaara BlT.rg 6ED00S a SONS, Eindartcn and 






Prppn Street Salt Work] Middlew c. 




7th Sept. 


Koaan Junei Kttt a Harben Platt, trades aa i:ea-ri JAMZ3 HAH 4 SON. Albert Salt Worka, Manton 


llth July 


411S.pt. 


llr. JOHN DEAX. Salt Worka, Wiufcrj ... ... ... ... ... 


lltb July 


ilhSapt. 


Mr. DAVID CHAPLIN. W<ton Salt Worln Stafford 


injury 


4th Sept. 


Maaara. WILLIAM WHITAEER AND SAS-'ITL WHTTAEEK, Boek Salt Mina, Wlccbam 


ITthJoly 


8th Sept 


THE MERSEY SALT AND BRIXE COMPANY, LIMITED. Weaton Foul, BiaeCTl and JUrtarj 


SOU. July 


90th Seea. 


Mean. EDWABD MASSEY a THOMAS BIBBEY, Lairuc Salt Worka ._ ... 


8rdS.pt. 


sihSn*. 


Edward G Aman. for MeMra. H. a H. WEST ... ... ... _ 


HlhJaly 


18thAaa> 


Etacotor of tne UK WOlian OkaU, JOSEPH OEELL 




eihOct 


Mr. H. NEUMANN FOR SELF AXD BROTHERS. Salt Worka, Boek Salt Minaa and Land ... 


SAZSSep 


IK Oct. 


Mr. ALEXANDER MISCAMPBELL. CarrickfarFii. Bock Silt, Uinaa. Sail Worka, BoiUicga. 1C. ..i 
i!r DANIEL O'P.OREE Belfart 


- 


lOlhSept 

am I - ,_ 


Menu M R. DALWAY 'CO . LIMITED Canickfargna, Bock Salt Minaa, Salt Worki, Boildinga. ac. 


~ 


1 . -u 
JOthSepa. 


Maean. Samne! McEiT Ebannon and Jamaa CampbaJ Eo^an and otbara trading tj THE CABRICKFEP.OU8 
SALT MINING COMPANY Mini 




flat Sept 


THE SOUTH DURHAM SALT COMPANY, LIMITM. Sail Worka and '"*. MiUlaaboroajb 




UlbSq*. 


THE DBOITWICH SALT COMPANY, Limiud, Salt Worka and Land 


tSthSept. 


IndOrt. 


Mr. THOMAS FATTEN, Bock Salt. Brine Lan* and Building! ...... 


ICtliAag. 


Itli Sept 


Mr TBOMAS BARROW, Bock Salt aad Bhaa Landi ... ... ... .. 


llUiScnt. 


IfthSapt 


Mr. THOMAS WARD. Bhnejnd Minerals ... _ 
Mr B. D. NICHOLSON, Bock Salt and Brae ... . .. 


... 


2SiS.pt 
13th Spt 


Mean. JOHN WILSON WATSON AND ROBEBT SCBAFTON, Land and Minerala. Middlcsboroosli 


._ 


SthSept 


Mr. CECIL t. PABB FOB SELF AND J. C PARR, lOWSSHEXD'S TBUSTEES, Uock Salt Mine, 
Brim Land) and Worka .- 


llth Aug. 


29Ui S.pt. 


Mi. A. O. SMITH BABBY. M.P., Bock Salt and Brim Landa, an, _ 




litOcu 


Mr. J. E. ABMBTBOXO. Rock Salt ani Brine Landa, to. ... .. .. 


7419Scp. 


lit Oct. 


Ber CANON T. FRANCE BAYHUBST, Bock Salt, Brim and other Landa. ao. .. 


ITOiSept. 


20i1iS.pt 


COLONEL C. H. FRANCE HAYHUBST, Boek Salt, Brine, and other Land, aa. 


17th be,*. 


28thS.pt 


Mr. ROGER W. WILBRABAM, Bock Salt, Brine, and other Landa .. ._ ... 


Sill Au s . 


lilOtt 


Cchn Maclnr for Mr. THOMAS HENBY LYON, Bock Sell, Bnml^nda, Mine, aa. ... 


!3rt Aug 


2 US Sept 


BICBARD HENRY DONE, bj Tcwninend a Barker, nil Agenla, Boek Salt and Brine Landa. ac. ... 


lit Sept. 


3rd Oct 


The Right Hon. JOHN BYRNE LEICESTER WARREN. BARON DE TABLEY, Landi, Worki. Minerala, ic. 





2SthS.pt. 


THE FHXNIX SALT AM) LIME COMPANY 




ind Oct. 



Other propertiea are under offer to the aud BoBEfir FOWLIE, prioot are being adjutted, and the offcn 
may beccmc coctncti at aar moicat. la tie cue of limited Compuuci the AgrcemcaU in aubjcct to formal 



4. THE WORKS have been specially inspected and reported upon, as to Cheshire, Staffordshire tn 
Btolw Prior by Mr. THOMAS WARD, /.P., of Northwich (Manner for Messrs. N. A=nrox It Soxs), who is a well- 
known authority on tho Salt Trade, and has been assisted in some coses by experts as valuers ; as to Droitwich 
by Messrs. THOMAS CAPPER & SON, Valuers, Northwich; as to Middlcsborough by Mr. 0. WIUJU.N. C.E. ; 
mud u to Ireland by Mr. GEORGE C. BLACKWELL of Liverpool 

6. IN A REPORT recently made by Mr. THOMAS ^ASD on the Cheshire Salt District, he HITS : 

Rah during* the last ten year* JIM been "/ per ton at the works, the lowest 2 3 ; the average pric 



Kas been 13A f.o'.b.? the l 
ill 1870. The average price during the fou 
an 6'- per ton more than in Ibs7, wrre lar 



broad 



* The highest price of Comnx 
bout fi/C per ton. For Eait India 
Salt reached 20 ' per ton ami did not full to 7, - 
per ton. The shipments of Salt in 1875, when tl 
Et Indian Salt was sold *~ 
Without any detriment to lli 

A moderatt riifl in the price cf Salt would not increase the present competition to any material extent either at bom* o> 

"The supply of Brine and Rock Salt within the radius covered by tho Company It not likely to be 

"The Cheshire Salt district being to near to Liverpool and the Upper Mersey Tort!! of Runeorn and Weston Toint posewer 
mnrarpassed facilities for the Shipment of Salt at cheap freights to all parts of the world, and win n the Manchester Ship Canal 
u complete, these facilities will be still further inrrnasi-d. The rail and wttUr comiiiuiiiculion of Uie CheUiirs district is exceptionally 
good, and hai been made fpecially to suit the Salt Trade. 

"It haa been long evident to all cor 
Its members. During the interval* tl 
practically all tin 



" The Company will begin by 



i'ii lacking, mid will by [ir 
' unlt-iis 
such good divide.* 



ing good dividends. It takes up and car 
a century, and other) for Dearly half that 



itkout i jisn.j pritcJ to a 
Lav* beoomc ot world-wit!*- 



6. The tonnage of CHESHIRE SALT shipped in the Mersey during the years 
1878-1887 amounted to upwards of ten million tons, exclusive oj; the large quantity carried by 
Railway, and was distributed as follows : 

WHITE SALT. 



Dim*nv. 


is 


Datrnuno*. 


Totu 


United State! (Xerth) 
(South) 


1, SCI. 238 
. 711,329 


Denmark anil Iceland 


, J.38J.28J 


British North America 


850.321 


Norway and Sweden ... _ 


127.010 


West Indies and Central Araer 


icm 42,689 


Beljiun, and Holland 


117.023 




93.388 


France and Soutli of Europo 


22,321 


East Indies ... 


8,002.521 


Ireland 


870.184 


Australia. New Zealand. In. 


132.938 
290 490 


***"* - 


897,701 


ttusiia 


880,206 


Total White Salt Shipped 


_. 8.803.150 






Total I'.oct ball shipped ... . ... 


_. 1.02C.721 




Osrrinf ml* . 7.334.289 


Total Itock and While Salt ihipped 


.'. 10,694,880 



7. The Produce of Rock Salt, White Salt made from Brine, and also Salt con- 
tained In Brine used for making Alkali under Solvay's Process for tho year 1887, 



amounts to 2,206,951, tons, s 



i by the following Su 
BOC.1 SALT. 

MM 



try from tho latest Gove, 



Dvaiuu (including Y 



1,019,451 

130,207 

5.810 

252.000 

13.000 

2.020,529 



1.709.719 
130.207 



2.200.9J1 



8. REVENUE. Taking the estimated production of the works acquired by the Company 

It 2,000,000 tons per annum, an average profit of five shillings per tuu would yield annually 500,000. 

Deducting Interest on Debenture Stock 45,000 

Dividend on Preference Share* 70,000 

115,000 

Would leave ... .- : 385,000 

or nearly 20 per cent per annum available for Beterve Fund and Dividend upon the Ordinary Share Capital. 

9. THE PURCHASE MONEY, OR CONSIDERATION for the whole of the properties and 
the benefit of the agreements, specified in Clause 3, including all charges and expenses on the. part of the 

except the legal charges and stamp duties for incorporating the Company, and brokerage, is the sum of 
3,704,519, in respect of which a contract dated 6th October, 1888, has been made between ROBERT FOWLER 
of the one part, and tho Company of the other part. This is the only Contract entered into by the Company, 
The said ROBERT FOWLEB has entered into subsidiary arrangements for covering the charges and expenses of certain 
other persons in relation to the Company, but the Company is not a party to these subsidiary arrangements, {fad 
will incur no liability in respect thereof, and there may also be in existence on the Slst day of October, and 
80th November, 1888, certain trade contracts, leases, agreements and engagements connected with the various 
properties and businesses to be taken over from those dates as going concerns and otherwise, which cannot bo 
specified here, and subscribers shall be deemed to waive the publication in compliance) with tho 38th section 
of the Companies Act, 16C7, of any further particulars in relation thereto. 

10. FORMS OF APPLICATION for Shares may be obtained at the Bankers, Brokers and Office*. 
The Articles of Association and Contracts can be seen at the Offices at the Solicitors. Should any Applicant 
not receive an Allotment his deposit will be returned in full; and such applicants as may receive a less 
amount of Shares or Debenture Stock than they apply for, will have their surplus deposit moneys credited to 
the sums due on the Share* ot Debenture Stock allotted to them. 

tonoir, Sth October, 188S. 



28 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

THE SALT TRUST IN BEING. 

The applications for shares in the Salt Union, Ltd., received by Messrs. 
Morton, Rose & Co. have been so numerous that the allotments to be 
received even by residents in the salt districts, who will probably be specially 
favoured, cannot be large. Under these circumstances, persons entirely 
unconnected with the salt trade are likely to obtain nothing. 

The Times, October nth, 1888. 

THE GREAT SALT COMBINATION. The acquisition by a syndicate of 
capitalists of the chief salt workings in Great Britain, with a view to controlling 
production and raising the price of salt, is the latest and, on the whole, 
perhaps the most objectionable phase of a tendency that has been showing 
itself during the last few years. The avowed object of this, as of all other 
similar syndicates, is to regulate production, and thereby create a relative 
scarcity of the commodity " syndicated " instead of permitting the existence 
of the glut that from time to time arises under a system of free competition 
among producers. The expedient is by no means a new one. It has been 
resorted to again and again when trade was generally depressed, or when 
there appeared to be a probability of securing a monopoly in a commodity 
of everyday use, in order to force prices up to a point which they would 
not be likely to reach under the ordinary conditions of supply and demand. 

This combination of salt producers, like every other movement of the 
kind, presents itself under two separate aspects according as it is regarded 
as affecting the general public or the salt industry. 

It may at once be conceded that the influence which the proposed 
artificial increase of the price of salt would be likely to exercise on the 
public, as consumers of salt for domestic purposes, will be almost inap- 
preciable. ... So far as the new combination is likely to affect the salt 
industry, as such, it is perhaps too early to speak as yet. One thing, 
however, is tolerably certain. The syndicate has not acquired the control 
of all fhe mines or works at which salt is produced, and unless and until 
they do this they will not have an absolute monopoly. The firms that keep 
clear of the combination will thus be enabled to undersell the syndicate by a 
sufficient margin of price to enable them to get a leading place in the market, 
so far as price can give that position. The large firms, bound by the rules 
under which the combination is administered, will have their .production 
curtailed in certain fixed proportions, while the firms that are independent 
will be in, a position to produce to the fullest extent of their capacity. Again, 
unless the syndicate obtains absolute possession of or control over every 
inch of ground where salt can be got, the almost certain result of the com- 
bination will be to bring into existence a number of " small fry " which 
would not otherwise come into being, and the resources of production will 
thereby, in all probability, be increased far beyond what they are now, thus 
defeating one of the primary objects of the movement, which is that of 
curtailing supply and creating an artificial scarcity. The fact that in all 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 29 

combinations of this kind the stronger and more important firms who are 
parties to the agreement have to carry the weaker and less capable firms on 
their back, is another manifest difficulty in the way of the new syndicate. 
These, however, are matters for the syndicate as such to deal with. What 
it concerns the public to know is that, even if the syndicate succeeds, the 
increase in the price of salt for domestic purposes is likely to be inappreciable, 
but that there is a grave danger threatened to the industries that depend 
upon salt as a raw material. Of the important question of public policy 
involved in this and similar movements we are likely to hear more by and by. 

The Times, October i3th, 1888. 

From many quarters continues to come evidence of the truth, in these 
days at least, of Stephenson's saying that competition ceases where com- 
bination is possible. Everywhere are growing up trusts, unions and 
associations which enchain the economical forces, individual enterprise, 
ambition, rivalry, and the struggle of almost equally capable agencies, 
upon which we were wont to rely for cheapness of production and distribu- 
tion. But nowhere are they springing up more rapidly than in America, 
especially in fields of industry in which hitherto competition has run riot. . . 

These combinations are not yet common with us, though we have lately 
heard much about them. But there is no reason to suppose that if we knew 
them better we should like them any more than they are liked in America. 
The little experience which we have had is not attractive. The Cheshire 
salt trade has not been long in the hands of the Salt Union ; and what is 
already the result ? The promoters of the scheme told us that they had no 
thoughts of materially raising the price of that article, and that they would 
be content with a slight advance and with stimulating exportation, which 
undoubtedly increased. But what is the last outcome of the association ? 
A correspondent in a letter which we publish to-day gives the answer : 
" Prior to the formation of the Union we paid for fine salt 24 /- per ton, at 
the time it was actually formed 28 /- per ton, and we have now received 
notice from the Union that the price will be 48 /- per ton until further 
notice." Salt is still cheap ; the directors may say that no one, however 
poor, will appreciate an advance. But we are not so sure that a rise of 100 
per cent, will be immaterial to many kinds of manufacturers ; and the ease 
with which the price can be raised in a few months reveals possibilities which 

do not recommend similar combinations There are rumours .... of 

other combinations being probable, with the usual consequence of a rise in 
price. The fact is that large production with a reign of low profits in so 
many forms of industry is inducing manufacturers generally to study the 
possibilities of combination as they never did before, with results which they 
did not altogether expect. They find that competition even in the great 
industries of the country, carried on at many different seats, is not so 
inevitable or beyond control as they have assumed ; they discover that while 
their rivals in trade cannot be beaten out of the field, they are often very 
glad to come to terms and to unite their forces. They are surprised 



30 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

probably, as they examine the ground, how much of it can be secured by 
the consent of a few minds. We have long learnt that a small syndicate 
may regulate the price of a particular issue of bonds. It is now dawning 
upon many producers that such articles as oil, tar, salt, and sugar, though 
produced in vast quantities and in many places, may be manipulated by 
persons controlling an amount of capital not impractically large ; and 
secretly, if not always openly, many organisations similar to the Salt Union 

are likely to be formed In America .... in New York, and in other 

states also, the Courts have been disposed to treat such combinations as in 
restraint of trade and in violation of the rules of the Common Law. . . . But 
the whole question as to the right of individuals to combine their capital 
and forces to drive all who do not obey them out of the trade has never been 
fought out. Our Courts have had naturally, from well-known causes, plenty 
to say about the illegality of combinations of labour they have been silent 
or obscure as to combinations of capital. Very soon, however, we must 
come to a clear understanding as to this point. Perhaps the common 
prejudices against such associations may turn out, when we know them 
better, to be much exaggerated, or even to be as erroneous economically as 
the laws of our forefathers against ' forestalling ' and ' regrating." Perhaps 
the conditions of modern industry are such that no great permanent harm 
can come of such associations, that their power can never long be excessive, 
and that they will by reason of inherent weakness fall to pieces whenever 
they try to seriously abuse their position. Perhaps too, we ought to welcome 
their appearance in some quarters as marking the end of wasteful com- 
petition. But the prejudice against such associations is strong. The fears 
as to their ultimate effect are considerable ; and this prejudice and these 
fears will not be lessened by learning from our correspondent's letter that 
while the price of fine salt before the Salt Union was formed was 24 /- per 
ton it is to be 48 /- until further notice. 

The Times, January i2th, 1889. 

THE SALT UNION. Since the Salt Union came into existence the prices of 
all descriptions of salt have been steadily raised, until common salt, which 
was selling at 3 /- to 5 /- per ton, is now quoted at //- to 10/6 per ton. The 
quotations for lump and other qualities have also been increased by about 
100 per cent., while some of the finer qualities have been raised 125 per cent. 
The Salt Union has drawn an imaginary line from Cardigan Bay to the Wash 
in Lincolnshire, and below that line the trade has been handed over to Mr. 
Corbett, of Stoke Prior Works, Worcestershire, while Cheshire dealers will 
be confined to the country north of the line. This arrangement has given 
rise to some complaints. 

The Times, February ist, 1889. 

" The Statutory General Meeting of the shareholders in the Salt Union 
(Limited) was held on Saturday at the City Terminus Hotel, Lord Thurlow 
presiding. The meeting was attended with a painful incident, Mr. Wm. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 31 

Hickson, one of the vendors, being seized with a sudden attack of illness and 
expiring in a few minutes. The Chairman stated that the meeting was only 
formal, having to be held within four months of the formation of the 
Company, and that there was no report or statement of accounts to present 
.... all the anticipations foreshadowed in the prospectus had been amply 
fulfilled. The long list of properties referred to in the second page of the 
prospectus had all been acquired with two or three trifling exceptions. He 
would be wanting in his duty unless he referred to one of these estates the 
salt works and salt royalties of Messrs. Bell Bros., of Middlesboro' . . . . The 
property embraced if not all, at any rate the richest and most important 
of the rock and brine regions .... there could be no doubt that the salt works 
at Middlesboro' would supply all the large fishing stations from Aberdeen 
to the south, and those of Newcastle, the Humber, Yarmouth, Lowestoft, &c. 
The chemical works would absorb enormous quantities of salt .... the 
Baltic .... the Danish and export trade. A good deal of nonsense had 
been spoken and written about the so-called monopoly of the Salt Union. 
He was not an advocate of a monopoly, and they did not represent a 
monopoly. . . . All that the Company aspired to was to occupy 
such a commanding and controlling position in the trade as to enable 
them to secure for the industry .... conditions without which no 
industry could flourish. . . . He desired to say one other word on the 
subject of subsidence. ... In some quarters persons had gone so far as to 
say that there was only ' one neck to wring ' and that they intended to 
wring it. He hoped they would try, but they would not find it so easy or 
simple .... facts in connection with this subject which should have a 
tranquilising effect on the minds of the shareholders. . . . There were 4,000 
shareholders in the Company. ... A few questions having been asked, the 
chairman in reply said it was too early to make any kind of prophecy as to 
what the dividends would be, but he had no doubt they would be 
satisfactory, judging from the accounts of the first two months' working. . . . 
The meeting passed a vote of condolence with the family of Mr. Hickson. . . 

The Times, February 4th, 1889. 



32 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

REPORT FOR 1889. 

Delivered at the First Ordinary General Meeting on the 27 th day of February, 
1890, at the City Terminus Hotel, Cannon Street, London. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS. 

The Right Honourable LORD THURLOW, P.C., F.R.S., London, Chairman. 

JOHN CORBETT, Esq., M.P., Deputy Chairman, Managing Director, Worcester- 
shire District. 

JOSEPH VERDIN, Esq., J.P., Managing Director, Cheshire District. 

RICHARD GRIGG, Esq., Managing Director, Middlesbrough District. 

HERMAN JOHN FALK, Esq., Managing Director, Irish District. 

Hon. LIONEL ASHLEY, London. 

EDWARD SABINE BARING-GOULD, Esq., London. 

GEORGE HENRY DEAKIN, Esq., Cheshire. 

PASCOE ST. LEGER GRENFELL, Esq., London. 

GEORGE WOODYATT HASTINGS, Esq., M.P., Worcestershire. 

CHRISTOPHER KAY, Esq., J.P., Cheshire. 

Hon. CHARLES WILLIAM MILLS, M.P., London. 

WALTER ROBINSON, Esq., London. 

WILLIAM HENRY VERDIN, Esq., J.P., Cheshire. 

POSSESSION OF THE SALT WORKS. On the ist November, 1888 three 
weeks after the subscription of the capital possession was obtained of a 
number of the works agreed to be acquired, with partial control of others 
pending the completion of the purchases, the remainder being taken over 
from tune to time. On the ist January, 1889, the Union practically had 
control of nearly all its salt works. 

In addition to the properties originally agreed to be acquired, the Union 
has been able, out of its working capital, to purchase the important salt 
works of Bell Brothers, Limited, at Middlesbrough, and of the Runcorn Soap 
and Alkali Co., and of the Wharton Railway and River Salt Works Co., 
Limited, in Cheshire (with other minor properties), for which negotiations 
had been pending prior to the subscription of the capital. Besides the 
freeholds and leaseholds acquired, a large area of rock salt and brine lands 
is retained for the Union. As carriers of salt the Union possesses more than 
3,000 railway trucks and vans, with the requisite yard locomotives ; upwards 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 33 

of 60 steamers ; and about 300 barges, flats and canal boats, which were 
acquired with the several salt properties. 

SALT TRADE IN 1889. The object of the Union having been to end the 
disastrous competition which had caused salt to be sold at prices considerably 
below the actual cost of production, an increase of prices became 
necessary in order to cover cost, and permit of a fair and reasonable 
return upon capital. During the past year there has been an abnormal 
contraction in the export salt trade from the Mersey, owing largely to 
the rise in ocean freights, and to the unusually heavy exports in 1888 in 
anticipation of an increase of prices. 

FUTURE SALT TRADE. The returns received from the various district 
offices since January ist, 1890, confirm the anticipation of your directors, 
that such markets as had been heavily stocked at low prices would soon 
revert to their normal demands. Contracts have been made for the Union 
with a large number of manufacturers engaged in chemical and kindred 
industries, for the supply of their entire consumption of salt during a period 
of five years, from ist January, 1890, at prices which your directors consider 
mutually advantageous. 

BALANCE SHEET. It will be observed that a sum of ^18,840 133. 8d. has 
been charged to capital account in respect of economic concentration of 
brine supplies from various pumping stations in the Cheshire District, as well 
as on account of the development of the new properties now proceeding in 
the Durham District. 

The surplus freehold estates have been entered in the Balance Sheet at 
a low valuation, irrespective of their worth as rock salt, brine and building 
areas. These properties may be regarded as a valuable reserve and 
permanent source of income. 

The item of ^114,038 represents the par value of shares owned by the 
Union in other salt companies in the United Kingdom, whereby the 
proprietary control of those companies is secured. 

The amount owing by the Union, at 3 ist December last, as shown in the 
Balance Sheet, is ^101,205 8s. 4d., whilst the sum owing to the Union is 
^123,418 2s. 3d., the cash at bankers on current and deposit accounts, and 
in hand, being ^142,738 os. id., and bills receivable ^3,964 IDS. 6d. 

In relation to the item of stocks of salt, fuel and material, the orders on 
hand for salt were in excess of the stocks at the 3 ist December, 1889. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The gross profits on the sale of salt, 
exclusive of other profits, have amounted to ^474,990 73. 3d. This sum 
would have been considerably increased had it been possible to make the 
prices of salt as fixed by your directors apply to the large tonnage contracted 
for prior to the Union. With a few exceptions all the sales of manufactured 
salt are now at Union prices, which are based upon the increased cost of 
labour, fuel and other commodities. 



34 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

Beyond its profits as manufacturers, the Union derives a considerable 
revenue from the carriage of salt, and from the rentals of freehold and 
leasehold properties. 

DIVIDEND AND RESERVE. After deducting the cost 
of Maintenance of Plant, Administration, and other charges 
set forth in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from 
all sources amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. ^368,512 10 o 

From this sum must be deducted 
the Debenture Interest payable on ist 
January and ist July, 1889, and ist 
January, 1890 .. .. .. .. ^48,124 i 2 

And the Interim Dividends to 3Oth 
June last, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, and 
IO/- per Share on the Ordinary Shares 144,333 6 8 

192,457 7 10 



Leaving . . ^176,055 2 2 

Out of this sum your directors recommend that dividends at the rate of 7 
per cent, per annum on the preference shares, and at the rate of 10 per cent, 
per annum on the ordinary shares, for the half year ended 3 ist December 
last, be paid on and after the 1 2th day of March, 1 890 ; that the sum of 
^40,000 be placed to reserve ; and ^1,055 2s. 2d. be carried forward. 

SALT DISTRIBUTION. Under stipulations contained in most of the 
agreements for sale and purchase of the salt properties, vendors have been 
appointed distributors of Union salt, they obtaining the orders from the 
consumers, shippers and traders, and guaranteeing monthly payment to the 
Union. The system of distribution does not apply to the Durham, 
Staffordshire and Irish Districts, where the Union sells salt to its customers 
direct. 

CHESHIRE DISTRICT. Mr. Joseph Verdin, who undertook the managing 
directorship of the extensive Cheshire District during the first and most 
difficult period of organisation and consolidation, and who has declined to 
accept any remuneration for such services, feels that he may shortly claim 
to be relieved of some portion of his onerous duties. Mr. Verdin will, 
however, continue to act until his successor is appointed, and will then 
retain his seat on the Board as a director. 

DIRECTORATE. The vacancy caused by the death of Mr. James Stubbs 
is about to be filled by the appointment of an additional mercantile repre- 
sentative from the port of Liverpool. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 35 

CONVERSION OF SHARES INTO STOCK. In accordance with the original 
intention of the Board, it is proposed to take the opportunity of the present 
annual meeting to obtain the requisite powers for converting the 7 per cent, 
preference shares and the ordinary shares into corresponding 7 per cent, 
preference stock and ordinary stock respectively, transferable in amounts 
of 10 and upwards, and also to similarly convert into stock the vendors' 
shares, so soon as they have been granted a Stock Exchange settlement and 
quotation, which are expected to be obtained after nth of June next. 

COMPENSATION FOR SUBSIDENCE. This question, which involves the 
greater question of creating a proprietary right to underground water, was 
fully considered by a Select Committee of the House of Commons, on the 
promotion of a private Bill by the Local Boards and others in 1881, when, 
after a hearing lasting over a fortnight, the Committee unanimously rejected 
the Bill. 

Since the acquisition of the Cheshire salt properties by the Union, the 
efforts to establish a claim to compensation have been revived, and 
deputations from the Local Boards of Northwich and Winsford have waited 
upon the Right Hon. C. T. Ritchie, M.P., President of the Local Government 
Board, with a view to obtaining a Royal Commission to enquire into the 
subject. Mr. Ritchie advised the deputations to endeavour to settle the 
matter with the Salt Union and Brunner, Mond & Company, Limited, who 
together, are the principal, though not the only brine pumpers in Cheshire. 
Accordingly a deputation from the two Local Boards waited upon your 
directors and explained their views ; but the Union not being legally liable 
for damage, your directors decided to refer the matter to the shareholders 
for consideration at the annual meeting, and will ask for authority to resist 
any attempt to impose a liability, which would necessarily be unlimited. 

In conclusion your directors consider that notwithstanding the excep- 
tional difficulties incident to the first year's working of such a large 
undertaking as the Salt Union, and the impossibility of deriving at once the 
full benefit of all the realizable economies, the results so far have been 
satisfactory, and that the strength and solidity of the Union will enable it 
successfully to maintain its position in the salt industry. 

THURLOW, Chairman. 
EDM. C. WICKES, Secretary. 
1 8th February, 1890. 



36 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

APPOINTMENT OF SALT DISTRIBUTOR. 

To . 



THE SALT UNION, LIMITED, of Number 2, Suiters' Hall Court, London r 
E.G. (hereinafter called the Union), hereby, in consideration of the payments to 
be duly and regularly made for salt and of the due observance and performance 
by you of the conditions herein contained, appoints you to be one of its Salt 
Distributors on the terms and conditions following, viz. : 

1. The Union will supply you with salt (a) at prices not being more than 
those charged by the Union for the time being for the same kinds or 
qualities of salt sold for delivery at the same places to any other Distributors, 
having the right to use their special brands, and (b) in other cases at such 
prices as the Union may fix at the time of the order, not being more than 
those charged under like circumstances for the same quality of salt to any 
other Distributors. 

2. You are not to sell, or contract to sell, salt at prices less than the 
prices from time to time authorised by the Union, nor make or allow any 
discount, commission, or gift to any of your customers. 

3. Where differential rates are authorised by the Union for different 
places or countries, you are not to sell salt to any customer at those rates 
except upon an undertaking in writing by the customer that it shall not be 
delivered at any other ports or places than those specified in the order, and 
you are to take all necessary steps to enforce such undertaking and are not 
to sell to any person having once broken any such undertaking. 

4. With the exception of salt sold in the Middlesbrough and Carrick- 
fergus Districts, all salt sold by you is to be sold on the terms that it is to 
be carried in and delivered at the agreed place of delivery from the Union's 
own wagons or vessels at the customary charges payable by you. 

5. The Union does not bind itself to deliver any salt except at the works- 
at which it is produced, and, upon receiving any order, may elect at which 
of its works the salt ordered or any part of it is to be delivered, subject to 
any special contracts which the Union has entered into as to particular 
brands or the supply from particular works. 

6. The Union hereby notify you that it has entered into contracts for 
the supply of salt, without limit as to quantity ; that it is about to make 
appointments of other Distributors on terms similar to those herein con- 
tained ; that it is bound under certain conditions not to sell salt coming 
from certain works or within certain districts, except to certain persons ; 
that it has given exclusive rights for the sale of particular salts, and salts- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 37 

coming from particular works ; that you are not to sell for delivery on the south 
side salt manufactured or produced on the north side of a line drawn across the 
Map of England and Wales, from Cardigan to Fossdyke Wash, in a straight 
line, except that Wolverhampton and suburbs are to be deemed south of the 
line. You are, however, at liberty to send salt by sea to any port for any 
purpose, and to Yarmouth and Lowestoft for fish-curing purposes only.. 
The Union reserve the right to alter or readjust the said line at any time 
after the 3ist December, 1889. 

7. The Union are not bound to make any sale hereunder for delivery 
to any person that might prevent it from performing such other contracts 
or the terms of any other appointment, or which would involve any breach 
of any such contract. And every sale hereunder being made upon such 
terms as will protect the Union against any breach of any such agreement 
or any agreement hereafter entered into with a vendor of any business,, 
works or mines. 

8. The Union is to allow you a discount of 2^ per cent, off the price of 
the salt delivered at the works, with the exception of salt delivered at 
Runcorn, Weston and Liverpool, for shipment for foreign and coastwise 
ports, when a discount of 2^ per cent, off the delivered prices at such places 
is to be allowed. 

9. All account? between you and the Union are to be settled and paid 
on the roth day of each calendar month for all salt delivered by the Union 
to you or to your order during the preceding calendar month. 

10. Within fourteen days from the date hereof you are to procure some 
person or company, to be approved by the Board of Directors of the Union 
to guarantee in a form satisfactory to the Union the payment by you of all 
sums becoming due to the Union under this appointment to an amount not 
exceeding pounds. 

11. If you commit any breach of any of the conditions of this 
appointment, the Union may notwithstanding any waiver of any preceding 
breach forthwith revoke this appointment, and in case of any breach by 
you of the 2nd clause hereof, you 'are also to be liable to pay to the Union 
the sum of ^100 for each and every such breach as and for liquidated 
damages. 

12. The Union reserve the right to alter or vary the terms and con- 
ditions of this appointment at any time. 

By order, 

Secretary* 
SALT UNION, LIMITED, 

SALTERS' HALL COURT, 
LONDON, E.G., 

1 3th March, 1889. 



38 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



REPORT FOR 1890. 

Delivered at the Second Ordinary General Meeting, on the 2Oth day of February, 
1891, at the City Terminus Hotel, Cannon Street, London. 

Your directors have the honour to present the Second Annual Report 
and Balance Sheet for the year ended 3ist December, 1890. 

THE UNION SALT TRADE IN 1890. The gross tonnage of salt delivered 
by the Union in 1890 was 1,629,000 tons, being an increase of about 80,000 
tons compared with the year 1889, forming part of the period covered by the 
first report and balance sheet from the incorporation of the Union in 
October, 1888, to 3ist December, 1889. 

CONTRACTS WITH CHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS. Most of the chemical 
manufacturers referred to in last year's report as having made contracts 
for the entire consumption of salt at their works during a period of five years, 
having agreed to transfer their works to " The United Alkali Company, 
Limited," their contracts for the unexpired periods remain to be completed 
by the United Alkali Company, on behalf of the chemical manufacturers. 

COST OF MANUFACTURE. During the year the cost of the manufacture 
of salt has been considerably augmented by the increase in the price of fuel 
and other materials ; and by the higher rates of wages paid by the Union. 

MAINTENANCE. The salt works, pans and machinery in operation, 
steamers, barges, flats and canal boats, and the locomotives and other 
railway stock, required for the Company's business, have been maintained 
in good condition and in many respects materially improved. 

BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of 13,963 45. 8d. has been 
charged to capital account, largely in connection with the progressive 
development of the Union property in the Durham District. 

The amount owing by the Union at 3ist December last, as shown in the 
balance sheet, is 118,777 153. id., whilst the sum owing to the Union is 
104,645 i2s. id., the cash at bankers on current and deposit accounts, and 
in hand, being 178,936 45. nd., and bills receivable 2,204 6s. id. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to the credit of this 
account for the sale of salt, fuel and brine is 440,719 145. 5d. Further 
sums amounting to 83,480 53. 4d., representing the profits earned from 
carriage and other sources, bring the total amount credited to this account 
to 524,199 193. 9d. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 39 

After deducting the cost of Maintenance of Plant, 
Distributors' Commission and the other charges set forth 
in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all sources 
amount to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ^306,447 o 9 

To which should be added the amount brought forward I.O55 2 2 



307,502 2 ii 

From this sum must be deducted the 
Debenture Interest paid on ist July, 
1890, and ist January, 1891 . . . . ^45,000 o o 

And the Interim Dividends to 3Oth 
June last, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, and 6 
per cent, per annum on the Ordinary 
shares .. .. .. .. .. 95,000 o o 

140,000 o o 



Leaving .. ^167,502 2 n 

Your Directors recommend that Dividends for the 
half-year ended 3 ist December last be paid on and after 
the 9th day of March, 1891, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, which will require .. ^35,ooo o o 

And at the rate of 8 per cent, per annum on the 
Ordinary Shares, which will absorb . . . . . . 80,000 o o 

That there be placed to Reserve . . . . . . 50,000 o o 

And that there be carried forward .. .. .. 2,502 2 n 



^167,502 2 ii 

THE BORING IN CHESHIRE. Your directors decided to bore for coal in 
Cheshire, where well-known geologists believe it exists. Petroleum and 
natural gas accompany salt deposits in several parts of the world, and 
experts are of opinion that they may also exist under the English salt beds. 
The gas strata usually appear to be about 2,000 feet below the surface. It 
was arranged to contract for boring, if necessary, to a depth of 3,000 feet. 
The boring is on freehold land of the Union at Marston, and the depth 
attained at present is 819 feet. 

COMPENSATION FOR SUBSIDENCE. A public Bill has been introduced 
into Parliament by Mr. Brunner and other Members, entitled " A Bill to 
provide compensation for owners of property suffering through the 
subsidence of the ground caused by the pumping of brine." The same 
question came before Parliament on a Private Bill in 1881, when after a 
hearing occupying a fortnight, the Select Committee unanimously rejected 
the Bill. The Bill proposes to enable " Compensation Boards " to be 
formed in the salt districts of England, to levy not exceeding threepence 
per thousand gallons of brine pumped, for providing a Compensation Fund, 



40 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

and excludes brine pumpers, railway and canal companies, and certain other 
bodies, from participation therein. It will be the duty of your Board to 
endeavour to safeguard your interests in respect of this measure, which 
would in effect increase the customary brine rents, and by taxing brine 
(which is about three parts " underground water ") create a precedent for 
taxing other industries using underground water holding sand, chalk, or 
other substances in suspension or solution, thus altering the common Law 
of England. 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The North American Salt Company 
having been reorganized for the acquisition of the salt properties in the 
State of New York, numbering sixty works, and arranged for the output of 
salt of the Syracuse Solar Salt Manufacturers, comprising twenty-seven 
works, together eighty-seven properties, desired to make a new agreement 
with the Salt Union. The properties were inspected last autumn by Mr. 
Richard Grigg, Managing Director of your Durham District, and by Mr. 
Thos. Ward, F.G.S., Manager of your Cheshire District, who have reported 
thereon to the Board. The terms of agreement have been settled with the 
President of the North American Company, and your directors consider the 
arrangement will be of advantage to both companies. 

THURLOW, Chairman. 
EDM. C. WICKES, Secretary. 
1 2th February, 1891. 

SECOND ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

The Second Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders of the Salt 
Union, Limited, was held at the City Terminus Hotel, Cannon Street, 
London, on February 2oth, 1891. Lord Thurlow, Chairman of the Board of 
Directors, presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

Lord Thurlow said : I will now proceed to make a few remarks which no 
doubt you will expect to come from the chair on an occasion of this kind. . . . 
You will see that the increase of salt sold is not unsatisfactory, being 80,000 
tons in excess of what was sold in the previous twelve months. Nor do I 
think it can be considered unsatisfactory that these 80,000 tons have been 
sold at an increased price of something like /d. per ton on an average. 
These figures confute thoroughly the theory that the formation of the Salt 
Union has driven and is still driving the salt trade out of this country. I 
think the figures are sufficiently eloquent in themselves, and require very 
little additional explanation. 

THE OPPOSITION COMPANIES. 

Of course, it was only natural that the formation of the Salt Union should 
encourage outside attempts from various quarters to develop new properties 
and create other sources of supply, but we have had some experience of the 
results of those attempts, and I am bound to say that they are satisfactory 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 41 

to the shareholders of the Salt Union. We all know what has happened to 
the companies formed in Durham. I don't think anybody will say they are 
.a success. Then we come to the properties bought and the new companies 
formed with the view of producing salt in Cheshire. I am not going to refer 
to any individually, but I am bound to say that, modest as were my 
anticipations of their success, they have not come up to them, and as regards 
most of them, I think I am within the truth when I say that we can at 
reasonable prices acquire them at any time we please. I do not think they 
have prejudiced the position of the Salt Union in the least. I consider they 
have strengthened it, inasmuch as to some extent they have possibly 
prevented our exercising anything like a strict monopoly in any one district. 
.... I now wish to say a word on 

THE SUBSIDENCE QUESTION. 

You are aware that Mr. Brunner has presented a Bill to Parliament to remove 
the hardships suffered by small householders in the districts affected by 
subsidence. That Bill, no doubt, is an honest attempt on his part to deal 
with the very vexed question on which a very great deal of feeling naturally 
exists ; but those who know the difficulty of passing a Bill under any circum- 
stances, and especially the difficulty of passing a Bill which proposes to alter 
the common law of the land, can have very little expectation of that Bill 
passing into law, at any rate, this year. It may be that it will be altered in 
several respects, and passed in a modified and comparatively innocuous 
shape ; but that it will pass in its present form I have no expectation what- 
ever. If it should pass in its present state it would mean practically i per 
cent, off your dividends. It would also have 

OTHER VERY CURIOUS RESULTS. 

It would alter the common law of England in respect of underground water, 
and it would, for example, render the London County Council and all other 
local bodies liable for injuries that may accrue, and have accrued before now, 
from the pumping up of the water and sand which is often necessary in the 
construction of new streets and sewers in towns and cities. I therefore 
think it is not unreasonable to say that the House of Commons will act with 
very great deliberation before it proceeds to make such a drastic alteration 
in the common law of the land. Then, as regards the results the evils that 
this Bill is designed to mitigate and alleviate. I do not doubt that hardships 
exist, especially among the poorer classes of property owners ; but we know 
that provision has been made to meet such cases, and we know too that no 
application has yet been received by those who have charge of the fund 
formed by Mr. Verdin elsewhere to participate in that fund. It would 
therefore really look as if the people themselves were not very active in 
coming forward to seek some kind of redress. We all know that brine 
pumping in Cheshire is certainly nothing new, and is not confined to the Salt 
Union. It extends, for example, to those large consumers of brine in 
Cheshire, Brunner, Mond and Company, and probably owing to that circum- 
stance Mr. Brunner feels his responsibility. When I think of Cheshire, and 



42 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

what that county owes to that industry, which has been carried on there since 
the time of Julius Ca>sar, I am bound to repeat what I have previously stated, 
that these towns would not have been built and rents would not have been 
drawn from cottages occupied by an industrious and thriving population as 
they now are had it not been for this system of brine pumping, which is the 
inevitable concommitant to the carrying on of this industry. ... As regards 

THE YEAR 1891, 

I am not going to prophesy anything about the outcome of the twelve months 
upon which we have embarked, but I do desire to say this much, that I 
think it will be a year that will have very important bearings on the future 

of the Salt Union I desire to refer very briefly to one point, about which 

a great deal has appeared in the columns of more than one newspaper, 
namely, the desirability in the interests of the Union shareholders of estab- 
lishing what has been called 

A PILOT COMPANY. 

Now, I think that it does not require any very extraordinary amount of 
prescience to imagine, at any rate, that a certain proportion of these letters 
emanate directly or indirectly from ingenious, and industrious, and well- 
meaning gentlemen, who have something to sell. What I wish to say to-day 
is this, that although we have not deemed it necessary, and do not deem it 
necessary, for reasons which I will explain, to form what they call a Pilot 
Company, yet we have not been idle. Various patents and new processes 
have been submitted and carefully considered. As a matter of fact, we have 
a Patents Committee, who have held meetings in various parts of the 
country, as necessity arose, and consulted the leading scientific experts of 
Great Britain. We have during the past year enquired into and put to 
severe practical test several of the more important inventions that have 
been placed before us. You must remember, however, that at least two of 
your directors, Mr. Corbett and Mr. Verdin, have been for the last twenty- 
five or thirty years spending thousands of pounds in investigating patents. 
The result has certainly not been encouraging to launch into any very great 
expenditure, and we have felt, judging from the past, that it behoved us in 
your interests to act with very great caution and care before we spent large 
sums of money which inventors and patentees usually require for the 
acquisition of some patent that might be of dubious validity or doubtful 
commercial importance. I will tell you one thing we have done in the way 
of the acquisition of patents. We have acquired one patent that emanated 
from the great brain of Sir Lowthian Bell. He is the inventor of an appliance 
for the use of waste heat from iron and other works. It has proved successful 
at his own works, and he has now hit upon an improved scheme for employing 
waste heat in other ways. We have acquired that patent on terms which I 
think you will approve, and which I consider any patent, if possible, ought 
to be acquired on. We are to make him payments in accordance with results. 
We are erecting pans to try the new method, partly at our expense, and 
partly at his. . . . Before I sit down, I desire to refer briefly to the 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 43 

CHANGES IN THE DIRECTORATE 

indicated in the report. You know we have lost the services of one of our 
Cheshire directors (Mr. George Deakin), which we all regret. You are 
perhaps aware that he no longer resides permanently in Cheshire, and he has 
given up his office in consequence. The vacancy thus caused, being a casual 
one, we had it in our power to fill up, and would have been fully justified in 
doing so. We knew, however, that there was a large section of the share- 
holders who desired to take the opportunity of appointing a gentleman in 
whom they reposed a very wide measure of confidence, Mr. Thomas Ward. 
Well, we consequently decided to leave that vacancy open, for you to fill 
up to-day in any way that you might wish. We have, as a matter of fact, 
received notice that he will be nominated to-day, and if he takes his seat at 
the Board on your nomination, and at your request, I can only say that he 
will meet with a cordial reception from all of us, and we shall value his advice 

very highly In answering any questions you may put we shall be 

perfectly frank, and attempt to conceal nothing. We have 

NO SKELETON IN OUR CUPBOARD, 

with the exception of those private differences of opinion which must con- 
stantly occur in carrying out and performing the various executive duties 
which come before a Board of this description. Differences of opinion must, 
of course, arise in a Board composed of men of vast experience and property, 
holding strong opinions of their own on matters connected with the trade. 
In no case have those differences gone beyond what might have been 
expected, and what was in the absolute interest of the shareholders. For a 
Board of this size, dealing with the subjects that come before us, to be abso- 
lutely unanimous on all points could not be for your interests. It would 
mean that we were a Board almost without individuality. It cannot be said 
that we are a Board without individuality. 

THE EXPENSES OF ADMINISTRATION. 

Mr. Giles said he thought the shareholders could not help regarding the 
accounts as to a certain extent unsatisfactory. They had observed during 
the year an increase in the exports, and they had naturally looked for some- 
thing in the shape of a better dividend, in spite of strikes and the increased 
price of coal and labour. During the first year there were certain difficulties 
to be overcome, and during the second year they were overcome, and the 
shareholders naturally expected that the trade would go on smoothly, and 
that the profits would be larger. It appeared to him that a large amount 
of the balance required to account for the difference in the dividends was 
found in the profit and loss account. He there observed that out of gross 
profits amounting to 524,000, only 306,000 was carried to the balance 
sheet, leaving a sum of 218,000 for administration and other expenses. The 
items to which he wished particularly to call attention were administration 
expenses, 31,303 ; distributors' commission, 36,541 ; fees and travelling 
expenses of the directors, 8,545 ; and law charges, 3,547. Those seemed 

F 



44 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

to be very heavy figures, notwithstanding the gigantic character of the 
business carried on. The item for distributors' commission alone amounted 
to close upon 10 per cent, on the amount of the gross profits shown on salt, 
fuel and brine sales. . . . He wished to ask whether that was not a very 
excessive price for the sale of their commodity. With regard to the adminis- 
tration expenses, seeing that all the cost of production was deducted from 
the gross profits, was not ^31,303 an enormous sum to pay for administration 
expenses ? 

NO PROSPECTS OF FURTHER ECONOMY. 

In the course of his replies to questions the Chairman said : I say that 
with a difference in the mode of treatment you might have had, and very 
likely would have had from a less conservative Board, a Board holding a 
less quantity of your own stock and shares, another 3 per cent. So that, 
instead of 7 per cent., you might have had 10 per cent, on the ordinary- 
shares. But it would not have been to your advantage to have had that ; 
I say it distinctly and advisedly. We have had very good financial men to 
advise us on financial subjects, and we have very close auditors, who examine 
our accounts with very great minuteness. I do not think we can hold out 
any prospects of further economy. We are aiming at a very high state of 
efficiency, and when you look at what industrial concerns pay, when you 
remember what you get, for example, if you put your money into railways, 
when you remember that it is difficult to invest in railways so as to receive 
more than 3^ per cent, or 3^ per cent, for your money, and that you cannot 
get more than 2^ per cent, for consols, I think, as compared with that, 7 per 
cent, dividend on ordinary shares under the most critical and conservative 
system of finance which we have adopted, and which might have been 
stretched to pay a much higher dividend, the shareholders ought to be satis- 
fied with their investments, and I think the shares ought to stand at a much 
higher premium than they do in the market. The price of our shares in the 
market to-day is a matter of absolute surprise to me. Here we are a 
Company representing real and leasehold property of enormous magnitude, 
with a controlling influence and power over one of the largest and most 
essential industries in the country, with the power, if we choose, of absorb- 
ing any of our competitors, indeed, most of them would only be too glad to 
be absorbed, but it is not desirable to absorb them all ; we should be laying 
ourselves open to a great many criticisms if we did ; our position is stronger 
for having competitors, and I hope we shall always continue to have com- 
petitors in the salt trade of England. I do not believe it is possible for 
these shares to continue at their present low price, when all these things 
become better known and appreciated, and when I must use the word 
the timidity of a certain class of our shareholders has given way to that 
absolute confidence which they ought to feel in their investment. 

FUTURE POLICY, THE DEMANDS OF THE ORDINARY SHAREHOLDERS. 

Mr. Keene wished to know whether the future policy of the Salt Union 
would continue to be that of taking away sums such as had been taken 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 45 

away from the ordinary shareholders during the last two years, and placing 
them to a reserve fund, which materially strengthened the position of the 
debenture holders and preference shareholders, who were already fully 
secured. He thought it was an injustice that a sum of ^50,000, representing 
2 1 per cent., which absolutely belonged to the ordinary shareholders of the 
Company, should be taken and set aside to strengthen the hands of the share- 
holders and debenture holders, who were fully secured. 

The Chairman : It may be true that the debentures have advanced two 
since the publication of this report, but I should like to say that if there is 
one point on which I think there is more unanimity than another on the part 
of the large and important shareholders, it is as to the absolute necessity of 
our creating a strong reserve fund. I need not go far back in history to 
look at what happened with the Bank of England the other day, and see 
how much better it would have been if it had had a stronger reserve fund. 
A Company like our own is exposed I will not say more exposed than other 
companies but it undoubtedly is exposed to dangers and risks from strikes, 
and from a variety of other circumstances, and it is right, therefore, that we 
should have a strong reserve fund upon which in years to come not perhaps 
just now but in years to come, we may be enabled if we desire to draw for 
the purpose of equalising our dividends. At the present moment our reserve 
fund would not perhaps be fairly considered strong enough to avail ourselves 
of it for that purpose, but when it has reached, as I hope and believe it will 
before long reach, something like half a million or a million, then in a bad 
year we shall be entitled and undoubtedly those who are then governing 
this Company will do so to draw upon that reserve fund for the purpose of 
equalizing the dividends. It appears to me that the gentleman opposite me 
has taken a faulty view of the objects of the reserve fund. Its object is 
undoubtedly to secure to a still further extent, not the debenture holder or 
the preference shareholder, who are both amply secured already, but the 
ordinary shareholder. Now, supposing this Company were to be wound up 
or go into liquidation to-morrow, there is not a shadow of doubt that the 
break-up value of the property that you possess would pay the last penny 
due to the debenture holder and the preference shareholder, and would leave 
a very handsome dividend also for the ordinary shareholder, even if it did not 
pay him in full ; but to insure his being paid in full is one of the objects for 
which the reserve fund was created. It is the distinct intention of the present 
Board to do all in their power to set aside, out of the profits of each year, as 
large a sum as they think can properly be spared for the purpose of increas- 
ing and strengthening that reserve fund. 

The motion for the adoption of the report and balance sheet was then 
put and unanimously agreed to. 

The dividend was declared, and after a lively discussion Lord Thurlow, 
the Hon. Lionel Ashley and Mr. Hastings were re-elected directors, and Mr. 
Thomas Ward was unanimously elected to a seat on the Board. 



46 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

HALF-YEARLY EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

A Half-yearly Extraordinary General Meeting of the Salt Union, Limited, 
was held at the Cannon Street Hotel, London, on August 6th, 1891. The 
notice convening the meeting stated that interim dividends would be 
declared by the directors, and a statement made as to the policy of the 
Board. The Hon. Lionel Ashley presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman : Well, now, gentlemen, as you are all well aware, the 
retirement of some of our directors has given rise to a great many unfounded 
rumours, to a great many erroneous newspaper statements as regards the 
position of the Union, and therefore, we, the Board, thought it well to ask 
the shareholders to meet us here in order that we might give them a report 
as to the position of the Company, and also a statement as to the policy 
that we think should be adopted. As regards 

THE RETIREMENT OF THE DIRECTORS, 

my observations will be very brief. The Cheshire directors, in the letter of 
resignation, state that there have been many divergencies of opinion on the 
Board, and no doubt there have been many such divergencies from the 
outset, and surely it is not surprising that there should be any such 
divergencies when we consider the experimental character and the novel 
conditions under which this vast combination of businesses was placed under 
our control. But I must be permitted to say that these gentlemen, on 
account of their great experience, and on account of their great energy, 
were given from the very outset a very wide discretion as regards the Cheshire 
management, and also, that their advice and guidance on account of their 
great experience have directed in a very large manner the general policy of 
the Union, and more especially what I would call the policy of prices ; that 
is to say, the prices at which the salt to be sold at our works was to be fixed. 
It was not till that management and that policy had been tested by 
experience and by time that we thought it right in the interests of the 
shareholders to advocate new lines of action. The result was that some of 
these Cheshire directors have retired, and it is for the shareholders now to 
decide if the policy which we are going to propose is to be carried out by us, 
or whether the direction of affairs is to be entrusted to others. Having 
stated this much as regards the past action of the Board in answer to the 
letter of the retiring directors, I will now give you a brief report of 

THE PRESENT POSITION OF THE COMPANY. 

I will return to the question of the future management later on. During 
the first six months of the present year, the tonnage of salt sold by us has 
been 780,000 tons. This quantity is 70,000 tons less than during the corre- 
sponding period in 1890, and is 30,000 tons more than in the corresponding 
period of 1889. This decrease as compared with the period of 1890 is due 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 47 

in the first place to the quantity of rock salt that has been shipped by 
German competitors to the Calcutta market. It is still, I believe, an open 
question whether this cheaper German salt rock product can compete for 
any length of time with the dearer and better grained salt that is made from 
brine, but this market is receiving our careful attention, with a view to 
determine whether any reduction of price is necessary. The second cause 
of decrease in our trade has been the competition in the domestic or fine 
salt branch of the trade. The competitors have chiefly attacked this small 
and specially remunerative branch of the business. We thought it well 
some time ago to reduce prices to a certain extent. This reduction and the 
reduced sale of the high priced salt have caused the result that the average 
price of salt realized for the half year is less than in 1890. I think it is very 
evident that in the present state of the market the price of this salt will 
.have to be reduced still further, but I do not see why with the advantages 
we possess we should not retain this branch of the trade, and make a fair 
profit, if due care and economy are exercised. Against this decrease in trade 
and price we have to set a certain saving in our fuel bill for the last six 
months, we having been able to purchase at a lesser rate than heretofore. 
There has been also a slight fall in the price of material, which has a little 
favoured our accounts. But our wages in some cases have increased. 

THE RESULTS OF THE TRADING OPERATIONS 

-during the last half year, including balance of ^2,502 carried forward at the 
end of the last half year, show a profit before deducting debenture interest 
of ^124,600, as compared with ^148,168 in the corresponding period of last 
year. After paying debenture interest on ^22,500, and if we pay interest 
on preference shares of ^35,000, there remains a sum of ^67,100, which is 
available for distribution as an interim dividend on the ordinary shares. 

THE DIVIDENDS. 

Before declaring this dividend, the directors have to consider whether during 
the present six months they may not be compelled to reduce the prices of 
certain qualities of salt in certain districts as has been foreshadowed. I 
think it as well to say to the shareholders that we may have to fight in this 
direction ; we may have to reduce for a certain time in order to compete 
with our competitors, but we have competed with the competitors, and we 
now declare 7 per cent, per annum on the preference shares and five per cent, 
per annum on the ordinary shares, to be paid on August i8th. That will 
leave us ^17,100 to be carried forward, and the appropriation of that will 
come into the next half-year's account. By declaring this interim dividend 
the directors show that they have confidence in the future, even with the 
probability of lower prices, provided that the economies which they think 
possible and the unifications of management are carried out. That brings 
me to the question which is set forth in the notice calling the meeting that 
is the question of 



48 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

THE FUTURE POLICY OF THE UNION, 

or, rather, what we think ought to be the future policy of the Union. I 
think it is very evident, and I think you will agree with me after what I have 
just said, that the Union has suffered and is suffering from the increase of 
competition. No reasonable man can doubt that this competition is stimu- 
lated by some prices of salt having been fixed too high. Therefore, the first 
thing the directors think necessary in foreshadowing the line of their policy 
is that there should be a careful revision of prices, with a view to reduction 
when and where necessary. If we are able to come to an agreement with 
our distributors, as we hope we may, that revision of prices in different 
districts will be made very much easier. Then the second and third points 
of our policy may be joined together. Increased economy by unification of 
management. We think that a general manager, or Executive Committee, 
having control over as many districts as possible, and visiting each 
alternately for the purpose of utilizing the works of each district for the 
advantage of all, may effect a great saving in the utilization of plant, in the 
manufacture of salt, and in repairs ; and we think that the more complete 
knowledge that will be thus gained of the management of the fuel used, &c. r 
will also bring considerable saving. The fifth point can hardly be called 
policy, because it does not depend on the Board, except so far as we may 
use past endeavours to bring it about by conciliatory negotiations, that is a 
modification in the system of distribution. Negotiations at this moment are 
going on with all the distributors, which we hope will be successful, and I 
should like to say we have no wish to dispossess or to eliminate the dis- 
tributors. On the contrary, we think the Union has derived great advantages 
from the trade connection with them, and we wish to continue working 
with them on a friendly basis ; but it is necessary for the welfare of the Union 
that we should work on a freer and more commercial basis, and our aim and 
desire is that our interests and the interests of the distributors should be 
merged together. It would be better if we could be brought more in touch 
with the distributors by the formation of advisory boards in different districts, 
who might meet together and give us their views on the different phases of 
the trade. That, gentlemen, is roughly the outline of the policy which we 
think should be adopted, and we think if it were carried out it would have 
every reasonable prospect of success. I will, before I say my final word, 
touch on two points of interest to the shareholders. One is that 

BORING OPERATIONS 

continue, and have now reached 1,800 feet, and the works are now passing 
through a bed of red and blue marl and gypsum. The second item is that, 
as you see by the report at the last general meeting, we have opposed the 
Bill for 

COMPENSATION FOR SUBSIDENCE, 

which has now passed into law. Undoubtedly through our opposition we 
have obtained certain amendments to certain clauses, and I think these will 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 49 

tend to mitigate the severity with which the Act would have borne on the 
salt industry. I hope that the good sense and commercial instincts of the 
salt district will prevent the Act being abused. Now, I will return to what 
I said I would mention before I sat down, and that is the 

FUTURE MANAGEMENT OF THE COMPANY. 

It is for the shareholders to decide if they approve of the policy we have 
laid before them, and if they wish this policy to be carried out by the 
present Board. 

IMPORTANT LETTER FROM MR. CORBETT, M.P. 

We had hopes that Mr. Corbett might be induced to rejoin the present Board 
and I will, with your permission, read a letter he has written to me, which I 
received this morning, and which he wrote for the purpose of its being read 
to the meeting : 

" IMPNEY, DROITWICH, 

" 5th August, 1891. 

" DEAR MR. ASHLEY, It is to me, I assure you, a matter of deep regret 
not to be present at the meeting of the Salt Union shareholders to-morrow. 
I had some hope up to this morning of going to town this evening, but I do 
not feel equal to the journey, and I cannot disregard the strict injunctions of 
my medical adviser, who enjoins complete rest for at least some weeks. I 
am trying to make arrangements to leave for Wales on Saturday or Monday 
next. Whilst on the score of health, I do not feel justified in accepting the 
post of chairman, the great body of shareholders will, I am sure, give me 
credit for feeling materially interested in the future prosperity of the concern. 
I believe I am the largest shareholder, I hold 10,000 shares besides debenture, 
and I have never sold or bought a single share from the formation of the 
Union to the present time. I am, too, in other respects interested in the 
Salt Union, but, beyond any personal monetary matters, I hope I sincerely 
respect the interests of the shareholders as a body, and I am most anxious 
to the best of my strength and ability to continue to render them service by 
giving to the Board and Executive the benefit of my experience and advice. 
My taking the post of chairman must depend on my restoration to my usual 
health and strength. I am assured by my medical adviser, that with rest 
and care I may hope for a favourable result, and in that case if my taking 
the chairmanship for a limited period would tend to restore confidence and 
good management, I would, if well supported, entertain it ; but the share- 
holders must be aware that their property is one of great magnitude, situated 
in several counties, and that its success does not depend on any one man, 
however able and zealous he may be. Unity of purpose and action is 
absolutely necessary to success on the parts of the directors and executive. 
In regard to the past, it may be well to let ' bygones ' be ' bygones.' We 
are all liable to make mistakes. In regard to the future, notwithstanding 
competitors in the trade have increased, under the delusion of permanent 
large profits, I may assure the shareholders that they have a large and 



50 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

valuable property, and one which gives them advantage over small manu- 
facturers, and which, under prudent and good management, is still capable 
of paying fair dividends. I beg to express the hope that nothing will occur 
at the meeting to-morrow to lead to fresh complications. I am induced to 
hope that, before the end of the year, good organization and harmony will 
be established, and brighter prospects for the future ; but the shareholders 
must be prepared to meet competition, any idea of the monopoly of the 
trade would be misleading. I am desirous of doing all in my power to assist 
the Board and Executive in the interest of the shareholders. 

" Believe me, faithfully yours, 

" (Signed) JOHN CORBETT." 

A LARGE SHAREHOLDER ON THE SITUATION I A RESOLUTION OF CONFIDENCE. 

Mr. Charles A. McDowell : Mr. Chairman, in the absence of Mr. Corbett, 
who is the largest shareholder in this Company, I take the liberty of intruding 
myself upon this meeting. Next to Mr. Corbett, I hold the largest number 
of shares held by any individual. My holding at present is 4,420 ordinary 
shares, besides ^50,000 worth of debentures, and my children hold ^51,000 
worth of debentures, besides a number of ordinary and preference shares. 

Since the formation of the Company I have purchased 1,100 shares 

I trust that in any remarks I may make here to-day, I may not be 
taken as animadverting upon the conduct of any individual director. 
The present position of our Company proves incontrovertibly that no 
amount of emolument will procure infallibility. We are all fallible, 
gentlemen : we all make mistakes. Our directors in the past have made 
mistakes, grievous mistakes ; our directors in the future will be liable 
to make mistakes, but we hope they will endeavour to avoid them. I 
do not wish, by my remarks, for one moment to cause discord ; on the 
contrary, I desire, if possible, to produce a harmony of feeling amongst the 
directors which will result in a better state of affairs and an enhancement of 
the value of our shares. The Chairman has very clearly and succinctly 
placed before you the present position of the Company. What has brought 
us to that position ? You are very well aware of the cause. I cannot for 
one moment deny that I think our directors those who have passed away 
from the Board and those who are on the Board now made a very great 
mistake, when they saw the opposition cropping up all around them, in not 
making some effort to either snuff it out or conciliate it in some way, and put 

an end to it The prices at which they put salt up to were calculated 

to cause any man to bore every place he possibly could and seek for salt 
within the area where it was known to exist. Putting up the price for 
squares, which, when the Company was formed, stood at 8 /- to 1 1 /-, and in 
Liverpool putting them up to 35/-, I think was bad policy. I mention this 
incidentally as one of the instances in which I think our directors made a 
mistake. ... I will now suggest a few of the remedies that present themselves 
to my mind. I do not claim the ability or the experience of some of your 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 51 

directors, but I claim that for thirty-five years I have watched with some 
degree of intelligence the course of your trade, and I have watched with some 
interest, as you may judge by the holding I have in the Company, the course 
of events since the formation of the Company. I suggest as the first remedy 
to bring you to a better state of things here that the differences between Mr. 
Corbett and the Company be settled amicably, and that Mr. Corbett come 
back to the Board. I look upon that as a very important matter indeed. 
Time would not permit me to go into the details of the question, which is a 
very large one, and one that means a great deal to the Company. 

THE CHESHIRE BOARD. 

The second point I make is the total abolition of what is called the 
Cheshire Board. Now, I do not know whether I shall be in harmony with 
the bulk of the meeting on that point or not, but I have given it a good deal 
of consideration, and with the interest that I have at stake, my firm and 
honest opinion is that the abolition of the Cheshire Board is necessary for the 
well-being of the Salt Union. By the abolition of the Board you create a 
want, and I am glad to hear the Chairman state that he proposed to fill that 
blank by the appointment of a general manager, or by the appointment of 
an Executive Committee formed by some of the members of the Board, who 
would visit not only Cheshire, but the other districts, and decide questions of 
very great importance there. ... In your management at present there are 
leaks all over, which aggregate a great deal. If they were not in existence 
to-day, your dividend would not be at the rate of 5 per cent., but 10 per cent. 
Do not hide it from yourselves. Your Board of Directors, individually and 
collectively, cannot gainsay what I put before you to-day. I tell you, as a 
practical man, that there are very great and important leaks in your system, 
that require immediate remedy, and unless they are remedied, things will go 
from bad to worse, and you will not see your 5 per cent, dividend. I should 
prefer myself to see a general manager appointed, rather than the Executive 
Committee mentioned by the Board ; but they have given it more thought 
than I, and are possibly in a better position to judge of the relative merits 
of the two modes of government or organization. The third point I make 
is that amongst our other reorganizations, we want reorganization of the 
emoluments paid to the directors. I do not wish to suggest any cheese- 
paring policy, far from it, because good men are deserving of good pay, and 
if you have good servants they ought to be well requited ; but I claim that 
salaries are being paid to directors here, and that by no possibility can they, 
however willing they may be, give value for the money that is paid to them. 
I impute to those gentlemen nothing dishonest, nothing dishonourable ; I 
believe that they are honourable, straightforward and honest men, and I 
believe that they would willingly render services equivalent to the salaries 
they get if opportunities offered. But opportunities do not offer, and there 
is only one remedy. As you cannot make work for your directors, you must 
reduce their salary commensurate to the work done. The next point I make 
is, thorough reorganization of your officers at Winsford and at Liverpool. 



52 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

I say, without fear of contradiction, that there is no office or officers in the 
kingdom that require revision more than they do. I do not care how able or 
how efficient the accountant-general may be ; I do not care what ability he 
may possess. If he does not get the materials to work with, and if you give 
him an inefficient staff, he cannot, except by performing a miracle, make it 
efficient. He cannot do it. Your staff, I say, and I say it advisedly, is 
inefficient, it wants reorganization both at Liverpool and at Winsford. . . 

THE COVENANTS WITH DISTRIBUTORS. 

The next point that I wish to make is one referred to by the chairman, and 
it is a very important one, too. At the time of the formation of the Company, 
in the anxiety to get the Company formed, arrangements were made with 
distributors of great variety, some of them very strange. The time is come 
when it is of importance that those distributors, if they are going to keep 
the goose that lays the golden eggs alive, modify their claims, modify their 
arrangements, not seek the pound of flesh, but enter into a fair and equitable 
contract with the Company, and get a fair remuneration for the work they 
do. There is a movement on foot having that in view, and I hope it will 
be successful. As far as I am concerned I am not a distributor myself I 
shall forward the matter in every way I possibly can. The last remark I 
have to make is that in every department a rigid economy ought to be 
pursued. When a Company like this comes down in two years from 10 per 
cent, to 5 per cent., it is time for you to begin to look after the pennies. 
When your Company started and you raised the price of salt from 3 /- to 
i8/-, or I5/-, and from 8 /- to 35/-, people came to the conclusion that you 
had got a gold mine, that you had got a bank at your back all your employes 
came to the conclusion that it would be unnecessary to do so much, that 
everything would go on all right, and they did not exercise the rigid 
economy that the gentlemen I see before me did when they had the works 
themselves. I see gentlemen before me here, who, when they had the works 
themselves, would not permit the condition of things that now exists under 
any circumstances. I hold that as directors they ought to be as particular 
about the property of the shareholders as they would about their own. . . . 
I am with the present Board of Directors to-day, but I promise you, gentle- 
men, that on the next occasion, should the promises which they hold up not 
be fulfilled, should they be violated in any way, that I shall be found on the 
opposition side, and that, whether I am a large shareholder or a small share- 
holder, I shall raise my voice against the present existing state of things. I 
thank you very sincerely for having heard me so patiently, and I shall now 
take the liberty of moving : " That this meeting, having heard the statement 
made by the Chairman of the policy of the directors, expresses its confidence 
in the same, and trusts they will immediately proceed to initiate and success- 
fully administer the reforms referred to generally in the Chairman's speech." 

A GLIMPSE AT THE BRIGHT SIDE. 

Mr. David Chaplin : Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I rise for the purpose 
of seconding the resolution that has been so ably moved by the last speaker. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 53 

There are many views enunciated by him with which I do not agree, but I 
think, at a meeting of this kind, a meeting of the shareholders where we are 
discussing matters affecting the market value of the shares of this Company, 
we should address ourselves to the shareholders' point of view. I think that 
the steps we should take should be steps not intended to depreciate and 
lower the property of the Salt Union, but steps that are well calculated to 
uphold it, and to put it before the public at its real estimated value. . . . The 

MISCHIEF OF DIVIDED COUNCILS 

is incalculable ; no great or even small trade can be carried on under divided 
councils. We know the proverb of a house divided against itself. Very 
well, now, these gentlemen, by withdrawing, have made it possible that 
peace and harmony in the directorate may again obtain. I think we should 
be in a very much worse position than we are to-day if we had both these 
jarring elements sitting on the directorate. If the views of the gentlemen 
who have retired were so diametrically opposed to the views of their fellows, 
it was the only thing that they could as honourable gentlemen do to retire 
and allow the people who did not hold their views then and there have an 
opportunity of carrying out their views. So I, for one, think that we have 
not to deplore that we have got the means of restoring peace and harmony 
on the Board once again. The Board of Directors has been exceedingly 
numerous, and I think that if you close up your ranks now if you can get 
Mr. Corbett to come in by all means let him come, because he is a man of 
very large experience, and he will be a tower of strength to the Union. But 
there are now very competent and able men left among the directors, and I 
would suggest that the proper thing to do is to close up your ranks and work 
well together, and then I think the Union will most assuredly flourish. 

A CRITICISM. 

Mr. Kean : I have listened to the remarks of the chairman and Mr. 
McDowell, and I think that Mr. McDowell missed in his speech some part of 
the mischief that we are labouring under at the present moment that is, 
that we ought to have a board of directors who are accustomed and used to 
the salt trade. I further think that we ought to have a number of large 
shareholders on that Board. Nothing makes a man more economical than 
when he is the manager of his own money. I think the proper course to be 
adopted at the meeting to-day would be to elect a Committee to put before 
the shareholders at a meeting to be called, say a month hence, a number of 
directors to fill up the vacancies that have taken place on the Board. I feel 
certain myself that we should have a larger representation, and that we should 
have gentlemen on the Board with a larger interest in the Union than the 
present Board has. It is a startling thing when you find that the gentlemen 
who compose the directorate of the Salt Union, representing four millions of 
capital, are only holders of ^33,540 of stock. How can we expect our pro- 
perty to be managed properly ? Can you name any other concern in this 



54 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

country, where there are four millions of capital, and the Board of Manage- 
ment represents only 33,540 ? I say it is preposterous, and an outrage to 
the common sense of ordinary business men that we should be in the position 
we are. There is no doubt that we have got one of the finest properties in 
Great Britain, and there are no other salt manufacturers who could live 
amongst us if only the business was carried on properly. The works that 
have been started could not exist there is not a shadow of doubt about it 
if our business was well managed. The very best salt properties in the 
kingdom are doubtless in the hands of the Salt Union, and the only thing we 
want is that the business of the Union shall be put under good management, 
and then we shall have a very successful property. There is no doubt about 
that, and the majority of the shareholders believe it. I have looked care- 
fully through the register, and I find that there has only been about 300,000 
in stock changed hands since the meeting on the 8th of February. That 
shows that it is not the sale of stock which has brought the prices down, but 
it is the 

PEOPLE WHO RIG THE MARKET 

for the purpose of making money. It is not a question as to the interest of 
the shareholders, it is a question only of how they can serve themselves. 
Their interest is so small that it is not worth consideration. If you take the 
holdings of two of the gentlemen off the Board who represent 17,210, the 
others have practically only just the bare qualification. It is an outrage to 
the business capacity of Englishmen. But whatever may be the result, face 
it now ; 

APPOINT A COMMITTEE. 

Let that Committee come before the shareholders with gentlemen who are 
qualified by their holdings to be directors of the Salt Union, and then they 
will give that attention to the management that the Salt Union ought to 
have. Let us have a managing director, or a general manager, who is neither 
a member of a firm of distributors nor a distributor himself. Let us have 
the best gentleman for the Company who can be got, and I say stick to your 
shares. In two years, if the thing is only properly managed, and everything 
done that can be, these shares will not be worth 6, but they will be worth 
16. It shows that when there has been only a little over 300,000 change 
hands since last February, with a drop from 10 to 5, that the shareholders 
yet have 

CONFIDENCE IN THE THING. 

It is simply nothing in the amount of the stock they hold. If some gentleman 
who knows them would nominate a Committee of ten or twelve to meet, and 
to meet the shareholders again in a month's time from now in Liverpool, 
there is no doubt the thing would go. Where the major part of our business 
is carried on we ought to have a proper staff of management, and everything 
else. How can we get to London, hundreds of miles away, to see how we are 
going on ? There ought to be a managing director on the works to see 
everything going on, and he ought to be in touch day by day, and hour by 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 55 

hour, with every transaction that takes place. It is utterly impossible for 
that to be done unless you are in the works actually, and I would move the 
office to Winsford, where we have our works. Where the works are there 
we ought to have a proper staff, and everything else. 

THE GREAT QUESTION OF THE HOUR. 

Mr. Brocklehurst : In continuation of the speeches already made, I may 
say that the great question before us to-day is the acceptation of Mr. Corbett. 
Mr. Corbett knows the history of the salt trade from the first. I think our 
directors are gentlemen without blame, and are very honourable gentlemen ; 
but I think many of them are gentlemen who know nothing about the salt 
trade. They are very good men of business, I daresay, but we want men 
thoroughly acquainted with all the details of the salt trade. I myself know 
nothing about it, but I am a considerable shareholder, and I feel an interest 
in it. At the same time what we want is not an imperium in imperio, we 
want an impenum, we want one at the head to direct everything, I do not 
hold with this proposition, that we are to have some directors in various 
parts of the salt districts. I think the proper way would be to have one man 
at the head, like Mr. Corbett, who would direct everything, and in support 
he ought to be able to appoint his own managers, and the Board of Directors 
might be divided into Committees to consider the various questions, but all 
to be under Mr. Corbett' s direction. There is another gentleman, and that 
is Mr. Verdin. It is said that there is a jealousy existing between Mr. Corbett 
and Mr. Verdin, but I think they are too liberal-minded to risk the well-being 
of this Salt Union by continuing their personal enmities. I feel sure that 
Mr. Verdin is willing in fact, I heard him say so the other day to give the 
Union his best attention, to give the benefit of his advice and experience to 
any gentleman who will undertake the chairmanship, provided he knows 
what he is doing, and is able to carry out such plans as will be beneficial to 
the shareholders. 

MR. w. H. VERDIN'S SPEECH. 

Mr. W. H. Verdin : Before the resolution is put to the meeting I should 
like to say just one word or two. I am sure the gentlemen who have retired 
from the Board wish well to their late colleagues. They felt it was imperative 
upon them to retire, under the circumstances. Most of those present are 
aware I am not going into details that it was proposed to close certain 
works at Northwich, and transfer the trade elsewhere. We objected to that, 
not on local grounds, but because we considered that the permanent welfare 
of the trade was the first thing that should be considered, and after that the 
interest of the shareholders. Now, I had better explain what I mean by 

THE PERMANENT WELFARE OF THE TRADE. 

Unless Cheshire can maintain its quality, and the reputation it has for good 
quality throughout the world, it must necessarily lose certain markets. . . . 
I say that the salt which is produced at Northwich certain qualities of salt 



56 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

manufactured there will hold their own, and more than hold their own, in 
any market. So that I hold it was against our duty as directors that any 
interference should be allowed to take place with the works at Northwich. 
We all know that it was proposed that No. 7 and 8 divisions, which included 
Mr. McDowell's late works, should be closed, and I ask Mr. McDowell to say 
whether or not it would have been a benefit to the Salt Union that those 
works should be closed ? Mr. McDowell agrees with me that it would not 
have been for the benefit of the Salt Union. But I ought to explain, in 
fairness to my old colleagues and I should be sorry to say one word for 
which they would blame me I challenge them to say whether or not the 
amendment was that the question of management of these works should be 
left to the Cheshire Committee or not. I am speaking now as to the particular 
act of closing a certain division at Northwich. The directors did not consider 
the Cheshire Committee were entitled to their confidence, and so we retired, 
but though we have retired from it, do not think that we are at all out of 
harmony with you in wishing every success to the Union. There is no doubt, 
if you will allow me to say it, that 

THE DIRECTORS WHO RETIRED 

had had a larger experience of the salt trade than anyone on the Board, 
and also probably than anyone in the trade. When I say larger experience 
I do not say longer experience, because there are some who can say that they 
have had more than twenty-five years' experience, as I can say, but then I 
had had to do with the largest concern in the trade, and necessarily my 
experience must be greater ; but what I was going to say is this, that there 
is no doubt that in many ways we who live in the locality have a certain 
influence, and we shall be only too happy to assist the Salt Union to make a 
fair return to the shareholders. The chairman stated that it was proposed 
to declare an interim dividend of 5 per cent. I can only say, having certain 
figures in my mind, and knowing what has been done in Cheshire during the 
past half-year, I am considerably disappointed that other districts have not 
done better. I think if we could make different arrangements they might do 
better. I can only say at this meeting what I have said in the presence of 
my colleagues, that it is an absolute fact that in Cheshire we have been able 
to make salt more cheaply than in any other part of the country where the 
Salt Union has carried on its operations. The Cheshire management has 
been very severely criticized at the Board. I can only express my regret 
that during the whole of the time the Salt Union has been formed not one 
word of criticism has passed with reference to any other division. Now, I 
do insist that every director should most gratefully accept 

FAIR CRITICISM ; 

but, as regards Cheshire, it has been unfair, and I have protested at the 
Board that our division has not had the benefit of fair criticism. Mr. 
McDowell made a charge I hope it was made unadvisedly that there were 
directors in front of him who had connived at leakages in the Company. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 57 

A CHALLENGE. 

Now, I challenge Mr. McDowell, or any other man, to say that any of the 
Cheshire directors, and as far as I -know any of my late colleagues, have ever 
connived at any leakage whatever. The Salt Union is an aggregation of a 
large number of concerns. I must confess before the Union was formed I 
thought salt would be made more economically than it had been ; but you 
must remember this, where one private firm is pitted against another firm, 
it is not only the heads of those firms conpeting with each other, but there is 
an esprit de corps amongst the employes themselves, which urges them to do 
something more for their own master probably than what somebody else's 
men are doing. But when you come to the question of forming all these 
concerns into one, such as the Salt Union is, then you lose some of that 
esprit de corps. Then there is another thing : the men thought no doubt 
that the shareholders of the Salt Union would obtain a liberal return. The 
men thought that they also ought to have a share in the good things, and 
not one of us complain of their looking at it in that light. They asked for 
an advance of wages, and it was given to them, and I say it was 

WISE POLICY 

to do so, because the salt trade is almost the only trade in the whole country 
that during the last few years has not been convulsed by strikes ; and I may 
say that there is a better feeling between the Company and its employes 
than in almost any other trade. Mr. Kean, I believe, is in the coal trade, 
and he will support me when I say during that time there has been a very 
large increase in the price of fuel. That has necessarily increased the cost 
of manufacture. But now I am pleased to tell you the price of fuel that we 
burn is very considerably lower than it was. At the present time the Salt 
Union is buying fuel at something like i /3 a ton less than the average price 
paid for it during last year. The Chairman said there has been an increase 
in the price of material. That is true, and the whole thing has consequently 
enhanced the price of salt, and correspondingly limited your profit. These 
circumstances have, no doubt, told against the Company, but looking at the 
reduced price of fuel, and all the other circumstances, I think we shall have 
a cheaper cost of production. No one was more pleased than I was to hear 
the letter read from Mr. Corbett ; no one will rejoice more than I do at 

MR. CORBETT'S REJOINING THE BOARD. 

I have never understood that it was in consequence of anything the Cheshire 
directors had done that Mr. Corbett left the Board. . . . The shareholders 
will not meet again for another six months, but I would give one word of 
warning, that there should be a clear understanding that terms should be 
made on which Mr. Corbett may join the Board. If the terms are satis- 
factory to the present directors, well and good ; if not, then of course Mr. 
Corbett's rejoining the Board will be of no benefit whatever. Just one word 
as to distributors. . . . There are a great number of shareholders who are of 
opinion that the distributive system is bad. I say it is a good one, but it 



58 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

wants a little flexibility. You may have a strong arm, but you also require 
an elbow joint. The distributors receive 2$ per cent, commission for selling 
salt, but they have to guarantee the value of the salt, on which only they 
receive a commission, and also the cost of carriage, and they have to find a 
banker to guarantee that they themselves are safe ; and I think the chairman 
would be able to inform you, if he liked, that during the last Aix months 
there has not been a penny of bad debt made through the distributors. I 
dare say there are some present who are brokers, and I do not think they 
would like to do their brokerage at less than 2\ per cent. Besides that, there 
are other deductions which really bring the commission down to only 2 per 
cent. I should like to ask if I am to understand from Mr. McDowell that I 
was conniving at this leakage ? 

Mr. McDowell : I never used the word " connivance " ; I said you were 
aware of the leakage. 

Mr. Verdin : I hope Mr. McDowell will not consider me at all personal 
in what I am going to say I have no desire to be I have come here with 
the intention of intimating to you that it is my desire, and it is my brother's 
desire, to do everything we can for the Salt Union. But I may say this, that 
while other distributors are receiving 2\ per cent., his late firm receives 5 
per cent, for commission and 5 per cent, is paid for the guarantee of the 
money, so that they receive 10 per cent., as against the 2^ per cent, to the 
other distributors. If he will meet the Company in a fair spirit the other 
distributors will do the same. 

The Chairman : I now have to put the motion. The motion is, " That 
this meeting, having heard the statement made by the Chairman of the 
policy of the directors, expresses its confidence in the same, and trusts that 
they will immediately proceed to initiate and successfully administer the 
reforms referred to generally in the Chairman's speech." 

A show of hands was then taken for and against the resolution, which 
was declared carried. 

The Chairman : Well, now, we have already spent a good deal of time, 
but there are one or two things I want to say in reply to what has been said. 
The gist of what I want to say is that none of us covet the position we 
are in, and we are not anxious to cling to it. If, therefore, the share- 
holders want a new Board, let them call a meeting a fortnight hence, 
and appoint a new Board. . . . Xo man can do more than his best, 
and that is what we are determined to do. You must remember it is 
no easy thing to wipe up a mess, and I do not mind saying the mess is not 
all of our making. But we will do our best to wipe it up, and we will do our 
best to remedy the mistakes we have had a share in ; and I hope, as I have 
said before, by improvement of management, by examination of prices, and 
by revision of prices, there is a very good prospect for the Union yet. There- 
fore, I hope we may all work together. We shall be only too glad to have 
advice, and suggestions, and only too glad to do all we can in the way of 
economy. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 59 

EXPLANATION BY MR. JOHN CORBETT. 

To THE SHAREHOLDERS OF 

THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, 

I feel anxious to attend your General Meeting on the 2jrd instant, but as 
I am only slowly recovering from a severe illness, it is somewhat doubtful if 
my medical adviser will allow me to attend a large, and perhaps exciting, 
assembly at present. In that case, as the affairs of the Salt Union have for 
some time formed a subject of controversy and dissatisfaction as to the 
administration of the concern, I cannot refrain from briefly addressing you 
on the subject of my connection with it and, first, I would repeat what I 
have previously written to the directors and to the Press namely, that I 
did not seek the Salt Union : the Salt Union sought me. I repeatedly 
refused to join the concern, and stood out to the last, but by promises and 
assurances that my system, authority and management which have been 
so eminently successful during the last forty years in making Stoke Works 
not only the most perfect of their kind in Europe, but, financially, the most 
prosperous would not in Worcestershire be interfered with, I was most 
reluctantly induced to join the Union, the first Syndicate or Union I ever had 
anything to do with in my life. Before many weeks had elapsed, I found 
myself in conflict of opinion with my colleagues, and, later on, more so with 
the officers of the Union as to the administration of the Worcestershire 
Works. Some of the clauses in my deed of covenant have been repeatedly 
and persistently infringed, to the loss of many thousands to the shareholders. 
This was the case more or less during the years 1889 and 1890, and has 
been to the present time. 

At the end of 1890 I felt myself impelled to tender my resignation as a 
director, and under these circumstances I think it only right that the share- 
holders should know something of the respective value and working results 
of Stoke Works, notwithstanding the covert opposition to my authority and 
management, as compared with other works purchased by the Salt Union. 
The purchase money for Stoke Works, and certain appurtenances thereto in 
Worcestershire, was ^600,000, which included, for a term of years, if the deed 
of covenant was carried out in its entirety, the comparatively safe protection 
from competition afforded to the works, under certain stipulations, referring 
to my landed estate surrounding the salt works of Worcestershire, extending 
several miles, and valued at a sum nearly equal to the works. Besides, I 
have since the formation, and for the further protection of the Salt Union, 
expended from twenty to thirty thousand pounds in acquiring other landed 
property in and around Droitwich, which does not pay me i per cent. Not- 
withstanding the opposition to my authority and management already 



60 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

referred to, the result has been for the three years ending December last as 
follows : the profits of Stoke Works only, available for the shareholders, 
have been upwards of 200,000, or 33^ per cent, of the entire purchase money, 
or an average of more than 1 1 per cent, per annum for the three years ending 
December, 1891. Thus, whilst the active capital of the other works of the 
Salt Union in its entirety has only earned an average of 7 per cent., if it had 
earned in the same ratio as Stoke Works, the result would have been 
upwards of 130,000 more profit, equal to an additional 6% per cent, to the 
ordinary shareholders. 

It has been said by your chairman that the high prices, against which I 
repeatedly protested, and which tempted and called into existence several 
competing works, enhanced the profits. Prima facie that so appears, but 
not in fact. The high prices, by diminishing your sales, shut up a large 
percentage of the best of the Worcestershire works at Stoke Prior, which for 
many years had been in active operation and which have remained entirely 
closed from the first few months of the establishment of the Union to this 
day. Had my advice been adopted, by charging moderate and fairly 
remunerative prices, these works would have been kept in full operation, 
and the profits, steadily maintained, would have been equal to, or in excess 
of, those which have accrued from the short-lived, extravagantly high prices, 
besides averting the competition, which has been so disastrous. 

I may remind you that I am still by far the largest shareholder. I have 
10,000 shares, besides debentures together 125,000, which with the profits 
of 200,000 makes 55 per cent, of the entire purchase money of my works. 
I have never bought or sold a single share from the first month of the Union. 
I have no salary or other allowance, not even my travelling expenses, having, 
without prejudice, voluntarily waived the same in favour of the shareholders, 
besides since the reduction in prices now reverted to having, in order to 
get back the lost trade for the benefit of the shareholders, contributed without 
prejudice a considerable portion of my legitimate profits, intended to pay 
trade expenses, such as travellers, agents, &c., and which, unfortunately, in 
some cases London in particular has involved me in a loss. 

There have doubtless been serious errors in the administration of your 
property, which may perhaps be ascribed to errors of judgment. In regard 
to your directors, I am in justice bound to say you have on your Board not 
only gentlemen of high social position, men of wealth and men of honour, but 
equally important would be the possession of a practical knowledge of the 
trade in all its bearings. 

I now come to the main object of this communication. A general 
meeting of the shareholders is hardly the place to discuss dispassionately the 
best means of amending errors of the past and reorganizing a large and 
important concern. I therefore appeal to you to appoint a Committee, con- 
sisting of a limited number of large and independent shareholders, to confer 
and report upon the best means of reorganization. I assure you that, so far 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 61 

as Worcestershire is concerned, such a step is imperative if the trade is to be 
made the most of for the shareholders. I shall be glad to render any aid in 
my power, and I court the most searching investigation into every act of 
mine connected with the Salt Union. 

I am sincerely in sympathy with the shareholders, not only because I 
am the largest, but also because I feel for those comparatively small holders 
who can ill afford to lose any portion of their investment. Notwithstanding 
errors of the past the Salt Union may, under the management of zealous and 
practical men of business, continue to pay fairly good dividends. At my 
age I cannot be expected to do much more than advise, in giving the benefit 
of forty-eight years' experience, and that only for a limited period ; but if I 
can thereby benefit the general body of the shareholders, I am on their behalf 
further disposed to make any reasonable pecuniary sacrifice if they, or a 
Committee appointed by them, think my advice and aid worthy of their 
consideration. 

I am, &c., 

JOHN CORBETT. 

STOKE SALT WORKS, 

WORCESTERSHIRE, 

i8th February, 1892. 



62 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



THE SALT UNION'S REJOINDER. 

SALTERS' HALL COURT, 
LONDON, E.G. 

2oth February, 1892. 
To THE SHAREHOLDERS OF 

THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, 

With reference to the letter addressed to you by Mr. John Corbett, dated 
1 8th inst., I will deal with it at the Ordinary General Meeting on Tuesday 
next, 23rd inst., and a printed report of the proceedings will be sent to you 
afterwards. 

In the meantime I wish to say that the directors will cordially welcome 
the appointment of a Committee of large and independent shareholders, as 
suggested by Mr. Corbett, to " confer and report upon the best means of 
reorganization." But, in the opinion of the directors, the need for such 
reorganization exists only in the Worcestershire District the only district 
in which the directors have been unable to effect any of the economies made 
possible by the formation of the Union. This inability is the result of the 
attitude of Mr. Corbett under his agreements and Deed of Covenant, which 
stipulate that he should be Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, or 
General Manager, of the Union in the Worcestershire District, and which 
give him complete control of the works which he has sold to the Union. 

Mr. Corbett was Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of the 
Worcestershire District from the incorporation of the Union until the 
Ordinary General Meeting in February, 1891, and is now General Manager 
for that district, as well as sole Distributor of the salt made at the Stoke 
Prior and Droitwich Salt Works a dual interest which has not operated to 
the advantage of the shareholders. 

Most of Mr. Corbett's observations apply to a period when he was the 
Deputy Chairman of the Company. 

The negotiations of the present directors with Mr. Corbett have been 
rendered abortive by the prohibitive terms asked by him for the surrender 
of his Distribution and Agency businesses. 

Yours faithfully, 

LIONEL ASHLEY, 

Chairman. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 63 

REPORT FOR 1891. 

Third Annual Report of the Directors for the year ended $ist December, 1891, 
to be presented at the Third Ordinary General Meeting at the City 
Terminus Hotel, Cannon Street, London, on the 2$rd day of February, 
1892. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS. 

The Hon. LIONEL ASHLEY, London, Chairman. 

EDWARD SABINE BARING-GOULD, Esq., London. 

HERMAN JOHN FALK, Esq., Liverpool. 

PASCOE ST. LEGER GRENFELL, Esq., London. 

RICHARD GRIGG, Esq., Middlesbrough. 

The Hon. CHARLES WILLIAM MILLS, M.P., London. 

WALTER ROBINSON, Esq., London. 

ALFRED MORRISON TURNER, Esq., Liverpool. 

THOMAS WARD, Esq., Northwich, Cheshire. 

Your directors beg to present the Third Annual Report for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1891, with Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet. 

THE UNION SALT TRADE IN 1891. The gross tonnage of salt delivered 
by the Union in 1891 was 1,472,000 tons, as compared with 1,629,000 tons 
delivered in 1890. A proportion of the decrease is due to the contraction 
of the general export trade of the country in 1891, and a further proportion 
to foreign competition. 

As regards the inland trade, your directors determined, with a view of 
safe-guarding your permanent interests, to enter into the competition 
forced by salt manufacturers outside the Union, and have made such 
reductions in price during the last few months, and such arrangements for 
the future, as will, in the opinion of your directors, recover and retain this 
branch of the trade. 

COST OF MANUFACTURE. Considerable economy has been effected in the 
cost of manufacture by concentration at such works as would (all circum- 
stances considered) permit of the salt being produced at the lowest cost. 
This matter is still receiving the constant and careful attention of your 
directors, and it is expected that the result of further economies will be 
realised during the present year. In view of the fact that the Union has 
a power of production very much larger than any probable demand, such 
of the works as are no longer fitted for the purposes for which they were 
originally intended, and could not, if renovated, be economically utilized, 
are being dismantled. 

MAINTENANCE. The salt works, pans and machinery in operation, 
steamers, barges, flats and canal boats, and the locomotives and other 
railway stock required for the Company's business have been maintained in 
good condition and repair. 



6 4 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of 10,128 is. iod., expended 
on new works, has been charged to the General Capital Account. 

The amount owing by the Union at December 3ist last was 
103,491 ?s. 4d. ; whilst the sum owing to the Union was 93,072 us. 3d. ; 
the consols certificates, cash at bankers on current and deposit accounts, 
and in hand, being 189,726 93. id., and bills receivable 2,469 143. 5d. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to the credit of this 
account for the sale of salt, fuel and brine was 354,185 33. 7d. To*this has 
to be added the sum of 81,614 73. nd., representing the profits earned from 
carriage and other sources, making the total amount 435,799 us. 6d. 

After deducting the cost of Maintenance of Plant, 
Distributors' Commission, Agency, and other charges set 
forth in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all 
sources amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. 243,911 o 5. 

To which should be added the amount brought forward 2,502 2 n 



From this sum must be deducted the 
Debenture Interest paid on July ist, 
1891, and ist January, 1892 .. .. 45,000 o o 

And the Interim Dividends to 3Oth 
June last, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, and 5 
per cent, per annum on the Ordinary 
Shares . . . . . . . . . . 85,000 o o 



Leaving . . 

Your Directors recommend that Dividends for the 
half-year ended 3 ist December last, be paid on and after 
the 9th day of March, 1892, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, which will require 

And at the rate of 5 per cent, per annum on the 
Ordinary Shares, which will absorb 

That there be placed to Reserve 

And that there be carried forward 



246,413 3 4 



130,000 o o 



116,413 3 4. 



35,000 o o 



50,000 

27,500 

3.913 



116,413 3 4 



RESERVE FUND. Owing to the purchase of additional properties the 
subscribed capital of the Company left no margin for working capital. 
Under these circumstances the Reserve Fund had to be utilized in trading 
operations, but it will be seen on reference to the balance sheet that a 
considerable amount has been invested in approved securities. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 65 

DISTRIBUTION IN CHESHIRE AND WORCESTERSHIRE. The distribution 
system originally adopted in the Cheshire and Worcestershire districts being 
found wanting in flexibility, and under present circumstances, preventing 
the Union taking full commercial advantage of varying markets, your 
directors, without waiving your right to trade direct in these districts, 
should they think it advantageous or expedient to do so, have made, and 
are making, such arrangements with various distributors as will place the 
Union in a much better trading position. 

THE BRINE PUMPING (COMPENSATION FOR SUBSIDENCE) ACT, 1891. 
The Public Bill which was introduced into Parliament last session by Mr. 
Brunner, M.P. (of Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co., Limited), ''to provide 
compensation for owners of property suffering through the subsidence of 
the ground caused by the pumping of brine," was, in accordance with your 
instructions, opposed by the Union before a Select Committee of the House 
of Commons. It was also opposed by Messrs. Brunner, Mond \- Co., Limited, 
and other parties, and, although the Bill was not rejected, the insertion was 
obtained of clauses considerably modifying its original provisions. Under 
the Act as passed, the Local Government Board are to fix the Compensation 
Areas, and embody their recommendations in a Provisional Order to be 
submitted to Parliament for confirmation, so that parties, if aggrieved, will 
have an opportunity of being heard by a Parliamentary Committee before 
the Order becomes law. A Local Government Board Inquiry was held at 
Northwich on the loth, nth and i2th February instant, for considering the 
application of the Northwich and Winsford Property Owners as to fixing 
Compensation Areas in Cheshire. 

THE BORING IN CHESHIRE. The boring operations referred to in the last 
annual report have been continued to a depth of 2,610 feet. As the contract 
was for boring to a depth of 3,000 feet, if required, at a fixed price per foot, 
your directors have decided to allow the boring to proceed. 

DIRECTORATE. It will be observed in the notice convening the meeting 
that a resolution is to be submitted that the number of directors shall not 
exceed nine until otherwise determined by the shareholders in general 
meeting. The directors to retire at this meeting are Mr. A. M. Turner and 
Mr. Walter Robinson, who offer themselves for re-election. The Board has 
received notice of the intended nomination for directorships of Mr. Reuben 
Stubbs, of Fern Villa, Winsford, and Mr. Joseph Stubbs, of School Road, 
Winsford. 

By order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 

1 3th February, 1892. 



66 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



THIRD ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

The Third Ordinary General Meeting of the Salt Union, Ltd., was held at 
Cannon Street Hotel, London, in February, 1892. The Hon. Lionel Ashley, 
Chairman of the Company, presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH. 

The Chairman : Gentlemen, it will be within your recollection that at our 
last meeting in August the present Board came before you with a statement 
of policy which we proposed to carry out, and you will recollect it was a policy 
of reform, that had four heads first, revision of prices ; secondly, increased 
economy ; thirdly, concentration of management ; fourthly, modification of 
distribution. Upon that occasion you were good enough to express con- 
fidence in us, and entrust us with the task of carrying out that reform. I 
think that the results of our work, as shown in our report and balance sheet, 
are decidedly satisfactory ; but I must point out, in justice to ourselves, 
that we have not had in fact five months to turn round in, and consequently 
many reforms and economies we have instituted have not come fully into 
play, and have not shown complete results. I may further point out that 
at the last meeting I warned you we might have to make serious reductions 
in prices. We have thought it advisable to make considerable reductions, 
and if you bear this in mind you will be able to judge what economies we 
must have effected in order to be able to show that profit. These economies, 
I wish to impress upon you, have not been obtained by not keeping our 
works, craft and rolling stock in the highest efficiency, but it has been done 
by concentration, by careful purchases of coal and material, and taking 
care that we get our money's worth. 

THE LEGAL EXPENSES. 

As regards the item of ^1,838 123. id. for Law and Parliamentary 
expenses, that is mostly composed of the cost of opposing the Compensation 
for Subsidence Bill. As you are aware, we have succeeded in obtaining some 
alterations in the Bill, which will make it bear less hardly upon the salt 
industry, and we have been acting also for your interests in the question of 
fixing compensation districts. This matter is under the present consideration 
of the Local Government Board. 

As regards the system of distribution, which we undertook to attempt 
to modify, we placed before the Cheshire distributors collectively for their 
consideration four or five methods of arrangement by which we thought all 
difficulties might be surmounted. These proposals were not accepted col- 
lectively, but we have made individual arrangements with several, by which 
our interests have become identical. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 67 

The only remaining matter alluded to in the report is the directorate. 
"We propose to submit a resolution that the number of directors should not 
exceed nine. That is the present number, and we have found it to work 
very well. I wish to give well-deserved praise to all the officers. At the 
head we have Mr. Wickes and Mr. Fells, who have done their best to do their 
duty to the shareholders, and to carry out fearlessly and impartially the 
instructions of the Board. Their interests, like ours, are to bind up and 
protect the Union, and I have no hesitation in saying that to Mr. Fells' 
organizing ability and unwearied zeal is due the present good condition of 
the Union's property. 

The resolution was carried unanimously. 

The Chairman : We directors take a perfectly independent view as regards 
this motion for a committee. We shall not oppose it, although we may have 
our own opinions as to its being undesirable. The resolution is : " That a 
committee of independent shareholders be appointed to investigate, confer 
and report as to the best means of organizing and administering the Salt 
Union." 

The motion was put and negatived by an overwhelming majority, only 
five hands being held up in its favour. 



68 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

REPORT FOR 1892. 

Fourth Annual Report of the Directors for the year ended 3 ist December, 1892, 
to be presented at the Fourth Ordinary General Meeting at Winchester House, 
Old Broad Street, London, on the 2^th day of February, 1893. 

Your Directors beg to present the FOURTH ANNUAL REPORT for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1892, with STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS and BALANCE 
SHEET. 

UNION SALT TRADE IN 1892. The gross tonnage of salt delivered by the 
Union in 1892 was 1,354,000 tons. The Directors regret that the salt trade 
has not been exempt from the general trade depression of the country, 
tonnage as well as prices being adversely affected. 

COST OF MANUFACTURE. Further economies have been made in the cost 
of manufacture, and it is hoped that still more may be effected by steady 
reorganization. 

DISTRIBUTION. During the year considerable progress has been made in 
the Cheshire district in modifying the Distributor system, and rendering it 
applicable to the present condition of the industry. In the Worcestershire 
district no satisfactory settlement has been possible, and the Directors have 
been compelled to commence an action at law against Mr. Corbett in order 
to obtain recognition from him of the rights of the Company in that district. 

MAINTENANCE. The salt mines, works, pans and machinery in opera- 
tion, steamers, barges, flats and canal boats, and the locomotives and other 
railway stock required for the Company's business, have been maintained in 
good condition and repair. 

BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of 2,633 8s. /d., expended 
on new works, has been charged to the general capital account. 

The amount owing by the Union at December 3ist last was 
98,236 i6s. 8d., whilst the sum owing to the Union was 147,164 8s. /d. ; 
the cash at bankers on current and deposit accounts, and in hand, being 
71,040 8s. lod. ; and bills receivable 16,864 8s. nd. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for the sale of salt and brine was 
290,351 8s. 6d. To this has to be added the sum of 
94,422 us. iod., representing the profits earned from 
carriage and other sources, making the total amount . . 384,774 o 4. 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, 
distributors' commission, agency, and other charges set 
forth in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all 
sources amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. 215,919 6 3 

To which should be added the amount brought forward 3,913 3 4 

219,832 9 7 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 69- 

Total Profit .. 219,832 9 7 
From this sum must be deducted the 
Debenture Stock Interest paid on July 
ist, 1892, and ist January, 1893 4S> O o 

And the Interim Dividends to 3Oth 
June last, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, and 5 per 
cent, per annum on the Ordinary Shares 85,000 o o 

130,000 o o- 



Leaving . . 89,832 9 7 

Your Directors recommend that Dividends for the 
half year ended 3 ist December last be paid on and after 
the i4th day of March, 1893, a * the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, which will require . . 35,000 o a 

And at the rate of 5 per cent, per annum on the 
Ordinary Shares, which will absorb . . . . . . . . 50,000 o a 

That the amount spent on boring in Cheshire be written off 2,01512 8 

And that there be carried forward .. .. .. 2,8161611 



89,832 9 7 

RESERVE FUND. It will be observed, on reference to the Balance Sheet, 
that the amount invested in securities has been increased to 60,332 i8s. nd.. 
out of the total Reserve Fund of 117,500. 

BRINE PUMPING (COMPENSATION FOR SUBSIDENCE) ACT, 1891. As a 
result of the Local Government Board enquiry, held at Northwich on the 
loth, nth and i2th February, 1892, the Local Government Board intro- 
duced into the House of Commons last session a Provisional Order Con- 
firmation Bill, by which Northwich and Winsford were to be joined in one 
area, under a Compensation Board. Compensation Boards for the other 
Cheshire salt districts were not formed. In conjunction with the Local 
Board and property owners of Winsford, your directors determined to- 
oppose the Bill in question before the Parliamentary Committee, on the 
ground that its main provisions were contrary to the evidence given before 
the Local Government Board Inspector. The Bill would have rendered 
brine pumpers in Winsford, where much salt is made, liable to pay for the 
subsidence in Northwich, where, as compared with Winsford, the salt trade 
is small, but pumping for the manufacture of chemicals is extensive. Owing 
to the General Election the Bill was suspended, but it has been reintroduced 
during the present session. 

THE BORING IN CHESHIRE. The boring which was commenced in June, 
1890, has not led to any satisfactory results, and the cost has been charged 
in the Balance Appropriation Account for the year 1892. 

By Order of the Board, 
i6th February, 1893. E - c - WICKES, Secretary 



70 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

FOURTH ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

The Fourth Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders in the Salt Union, 
Limited, was held at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, on 
February 24th, 1893. There was a large attendance of shareholders. The 
Hon. Lionel Ashley, Chairman of the Company, presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman : We meet as you know at this time once a year, for us to 
give you an account of what work has been done during the past year, and 
I may begin by telling you frankly that the last year's working has, 
undoubtedly, been disappointing to us. You can see by the report that the 
gross tonnage of salt sold is 1,354,000 tons, compared with 1,472,000 tons 
sold in 1891, and the natural result in consequence has been that our profit 
has diminished. At the same time, I must tell you that the Board are as 
confident as ever that we are 

PURSUING A RIGHT POLICY, 

the only policy that gives promise of success. And though that final success 
may possibly be long tarried through great depressions in trade, through 
competition, or through internal difficulties such as we have had from 
distributors or the strike of our workmen, yet we are still confident that the 
Union will eventually be established on an unassailable basis. Our reasons 
for this confidence, as we have pointed out at former meetings, have been 
that we have such vast natural resources in Cheshire and in Worcestershire, 
that we have an unlimited supply of the strongest brine, that we have cheap 
fuel and easy access to ports ; therefore, when we shall have all the profits 
of distribution as well as of manufacture in our hands, we must be able to sell 
better salt than our competitors at a price that will overcome competition 
and yet will give us a reasonable return. Our policy has been and will be to 
develop our trade and to increase its volume by selling at low but remunera- 
tive prices, and though our efforts this year have only been partially successful, 
owing to special causes, I shall later on point out to you large markets where 
we have considerably increased our trade even in this year, and I think that 
in that way the outlook is decidedly promising. Certainly we have had great 
difficulties to overcome during the past year. First and foremost has been 

THE GENERAL TRADE DEPRESSION. 

Everyone engaged in business is aware that trade this year has been 
universally bad railway and other companies have had to pay smaller 
dividends. The depression of the shipping trade has specially affected us. 
As you know, a brisk shipping trade means a brisk salt trade. Freights have 
been so low that it has paid shipowners to keep their ships tied up rather 
than take those low freights. Our trade, which is so largely a ballast trade, 
has been affected by this tying up of so much shipping. At this moment 
there are no less than 850,000 tons of shipping tied up in this country, and 
to this large total must be added the large quantity of tonnage of English 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 71 

ships tied up in foreign ports. We have further had to overcome keen com- 
petition at home and abroad. In the earlier part of last year some extension 
of works was made by some of our 

COMPETITORS IN THE INLAND TRADE, 

who did not then realize what they now realize, that the salt industry is a 
very over-built industry, and the power of production of the Salt Union alone 
is in excess of any probable demand. These competitors, finding that we by 
our revisions in prices have recovered a large proportion of the inland trade, 
approached us with a view of arranging prices and limiting production in 
recognition of the over-built condition of the industry. We worked with 
them for some weeks at an agreed scale of moderate prices, but as they would 
not consent to combine these moderate prices with limited production we 
left them, and are now working independently. We are willing when they 
can agree amongst themselves to entertain an arrangement which shall 
combine moderate prices with limited production. Meanwhile we intend to 
continue to advance in the inland market, where we have increased our trade 
by 25 per cent, compared with 1891. Our progress in this direction has been 
much facilitated by partial modification in our distribution system, and by 
bringing ourselves into more direct touch with the buyers. As to competition 
in 

THE EAST INDIES, 

we thought it prudent in the early part of last year to make a substantial 
reduction in prices. This we did in order to meet the attacks of German 
rock salt upon our Indian market, and in conformity with what we announced 
to you at our last meeting we determined to maintain and increase the 
amount of tonnage sold. The result is that we have brought into the market 
many thousand tons more than in 1891, and the import of German salt has 
diminished by over 50 per cent. We have devoted, and are devoting, most 
careful attention to this branch of our business with a view to securing fair 
returns without increased cost of salt to the consumer. 

OTHER MARKETS. 

To the United States we have considerably increased the tonnage of salt 
sold of the finer grades. To Australia there has been a decrease in tonnage, 
due in a large measure doubtless to the fact that some of the Australian 
Governments, whilst imposing a duty on English salt, admit salt exported 
from some other countries duty free. It is a subject on which we are making 
representations to the governmental departments concerned, and we hope to 
see an improved state of things in this market. To Newfoundland, Prince 
Edward Island, Vancouver, and West Indies there have also been increased 
exports this year. Broadly and generally I may say that the export trade is 
receiving constant and careful attention. We fully recognise that the future 
welfare of this Company rests not upon high prices, but on the maintenance 
and development of trade. We not only aim to maintain and recover such 
trade as has been lost, but to leave no stone unturned to extend it. It may 



72 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

be difficult to open up absolutely fresh markets, but we are working in that 
direction. . . . The third and last class of difficulty we have had to face has 
been internal, and shareholders who know the full facts of the case will, I 
think, agree with me that 

THE STRIKE OF WATERMEN 

which we had in August last was one of the most unnecessary strikes that 
has taken place in recent years. ... It is not possible to estimate exactly the 
cost of such a contest, but I do not hesitate to say, if you take into con- 
sideration the orders we were not able to execute and to undertake, that our 
loss amounted to many thousands. To pass to another question, you will 
have seen that 

CLAIMS IN COURTS OF LAW 

have been raised against us by the Delamere Trustees and by the Messrs. 
Deakin Brothers. These actions are sub judice, and therefore there is not 
much to be said about them, except that the directors feel no alarm as to 
these demands, as they are confident of the justice of their case. Similarly, 
our 

ACTION AGAINST MR. CORBETT 

is now before the court, and I think I had better make no comment upon 
the difficulties imposed upon us in connection with the manufacture and 
distribution in Worcestershire ; I may, however, mention that since the last 
meeting Mr. Corbett made us another offer for the sale of his distribution 
business, but the terms of that offer were more astounding than the former 
ones, which we found it absolutely necessary to reject, so that we had no 
alternative but to proceed with our action. I am glad to say that since the 
commencement of the action Mr. Corbett has relieved himself of one of the 
difficulties of the position by resigning the general managership of the 
Worcestershire District. The Union now distributes about 60 per cent, of 
the total tonnage sold in all districts, and the directors hope to extend this 
direct trade still more in the future, for they are satisfied, as I said just now, 
that under the pressure of competition it is better to have direct communica- 
tion with the customers. ... In 

THE BALANCE SHEET 

I may point out that we have only spent ^2,633 in new works, and that the 
whole of this expenditure will increase our sources of revenue. The cost of 
boring, you will observe, we propose to write off the Balance Appropriation 
Account. I think that we were perfectly justified in making this experiment, 
having regard to the usual experience in other countries where either coal or 
natural gas or petroleum has been found under or in the neighbourhood of 
salt beds, but I can only regret that in our case the boring produced no 
result. I may point out that this year, 1893, is the last in which we shall 
have to write off that amount of ^12,546 for charges in connection with the 
purchase of properties. As to the item of steamers and craft, we have con- 
tinued to pursue the policy of realizing the value of such craft as is no longer 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 73 

suitable for our requirements. This explains the decrease of 7,000 in the 
value of steamers and barges. There is an amount of 1,400 on rolling stock 
which has been written off. I will come later on to the question of deprecia- 
tion. The amount of Sundry Debtors and Bills receivable have been increased 
in consequence of our new departure in the distribution system. Whilst we 
realise the benefit of the 2^ per cent, which is allowed to our distribution 
branches, we must necessarily give a somewhat larger credit than when we 
were paying to the distributors 2\ per cent, for payment on the loth of the 
month following delivery. As to the investments, you will observe that we 
have increased them from 47,500 to 60,332. I think you will agree with me 
that the securities are what are called in the slang of the Stock Exchange of 
the " gilt-edged " order. In the balance sheet they are taken at cost, but 
since their purchase they have increased in value. The remainder of the 
reserve fund, as we pointed out at a former meeting, is utilized as pur working 
capital. In 

THE PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT 

we have spent in maintenance of plant 48,410. During the four years of 
the Company's existence we have spent altogether 240,000 in maintenance, 
which is, I think, a guarantee that the property of the Company is kept up 
to the mark ; and it is owing to the heavy expenditure of past years that we 
are now able to make salt at a lower cost than heretofore. I may mention 
that we have reduced the cost of manufacture of salt in 1892 as compared 
with 1891 by 16 per cent. This comes on the top of a considerable reduction 
in 1891. Of this 16 per cent. 12 per cent, is due to cheaper fuel and 4 per 
cent, to economies which we have effected. We believe from the purchases 
of fuel that we have already made that our fuel cost will be even less this 
year, and that by steady reorganization we may be able to effect still further 
economies. Our working plant, shipping and rolling stock are all in good 
condition. As regards the barges, shipping, and rolling stock, we have in 
previous years written off 11,000 for depreciation on these two accounts, 
and there is an item of i ,400 this year. I may point out further that since 
the Union was formed (that is four years) we have spent 54,622 in improving 
and repairing our craft, and during the same period we have spent 72,013 
on waggon and van repairs, so that on our craft and rolling stock, the cost 
of which to us was 315,318, we have during the four years spent 126,735 
that is to say about 40 per cent, of the original cost. Our working plant, 
shipping and rolling stock are all in good condition. As regards rolling stock 
we have, I may say, a first-rate staff of inspectors in the shape of railway 
companies, because they are very stringent in their regulations and do not 
allow waggons to be used not up to their standard. A portion of the next 
item, 5,025, written off stores and material, represents a sum written off 
the value of certain stock contracts that were handed to us by some of the 
vendors, and this is the last time in which that portion will appear : it has 
now all been written off. A comparison of the remaining items on the debtor 
side of the profit and loss account with that of the previous year would, we 



74 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

think, convince all of you that this account is carefully looked into, and 
considerable economies have been effected. . . . On the credit side of the profit 
and loss account you will see that the profit on salt and brine sales shows a 
great decrease upon the figures of previous years. Our profit as carriers we 
have been able by economies and effective management to considerably 
increase, and this is a source of gratification to us, that in spite of a decrease 
in trade our improvement in profits under this head has been continuous. . . 
I will simply close by saying that I have been careful to make no rosy or 
sanguine forecast of the future, in fact, perhaps, rather the other way, but at 
the same time I may say that both I and my co-directors 

LOOK FORWARD WITH CONFIDENCE 

to the future. There are some things that even a Board of Directors cannot 
control, and amongst them the ups and downs of trade. All I can say is 
that your Board and your staff are of one mind in doing all that is possible 
for the welfare of the Company. 

Mr. Jeffreys : May I ask what is the meaning of the retaining fees, 
mentioned a little lower down, ^9,000. Is that retaining fees paid to the 
directorate ? 

The Chairman : No. Those are retaining fees to owners of properties 
to prevent them allowing the property to fall into the hands of competitors. 

Mr. C. McDowell : Permit me to make a few remarks on the report in 
my hands and the speech which our chairman has just made. Regarding 
the economies that you have mentioned, Mr. Chairman, I can only say that 
I have listened with very great pleasure to your very lucid speech on the 
subject. In 1891, at our meeting two years ago, it was suggested to Lord 
Thurlow, the then chairman, that some economies might be practised. His 
reply was, " I do not think I can hold out any prospect of future economies." 
On a subsequent occasion, at our meeting, I suggested that very large 
economies might be made. It will be in the recollection of many present 
here that I spoke very freely and fairly on the subject then. Our then 
directors the present directors, to speak more correctly agreed with me 
that there were possible economies, and that they ought to be practised, and 
they took the matter in hand, with the result that you have heard to-day. . . 
But, sir, whilst those economies have been produced, I hold that the same 
results might have been produced much more expeditiously, much more 
cheaply, and yet quite as efficiently, by a general manager. My objection 
to an Executive Committee, as I have told our chairman, is that it is slow 
to act, expensive to move, and that you do not get the same result from its 
economies that you would get from the economies practised by one man. 
Besides, there is another matter. In forming an Executive Committee, you 
abstract the directors and the officers connected with the Committee, you 
take them away from their legitimate work, and whilst they are in one part 
of the country attending to the duties imposed upon them as Executive 
Committeemen, they are away from other duties which they might be well 
performing for the benefit of the shareholders. Therefore, I hope, Mr. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 75 

Chairman, that you will proceed at the earliest date to elect a general 
manager. I regret exceedingly that the circumstances of the case did not 
permit of our directors putting a large sum to the reserve fund. Under the 
circumstances it was impossible. I hope at our next meeting, having reduced 
expenses considerably during the present year, having had certain payments 
done away with which had to be made in the current year, the directors may 
be able to put a substantial amount to the reserve, and I hope further, as an 
ordinary shareholder, that, no matter what your success may be in the coming 
year, Mr. Chairman, or in future years, until you have made a very large 
reserve fund your Board will not make the mistake which they did on former 
occasions of paying too large a dividend. I hope you will stick to the 5 per 
cent, dividend, no matter what your earnings are, until you make a large 
reserve. 

Mr. E. P. Williams : The cry among the shareholders generally seems to 
be the cry of economy. I do not wish to push that question too far ; but, 
looking at the balance sheet, I notice that in the last year the directors have 
invested from the reserve fund a sum of ^35,000 or thereabouts. That 
^35,000 is invested to bring 3 per cent. It seems to me that if that money 
had been invested in your own debenture stock, which would bring in 4^ per 
cent., the shareholders would benefit to the tune of about ^700 more than 
they do now. ... I may say that I am not merely speaking for myself, as I 
have some claim to speak for some of my friends. I come from the very 
centre of the salt field in Cheshire. You, sir, satisfied me yesterday as to some 
questions I thought of putting, so I will not trouble you with them to-day, 
but I demur to some of the remarks which were made as to the serious strike 
which we had last year, and which may occur again in the near future if tact 
and good feeling are not maintained between the officials of the Salt Union 
and the representative committee of the men. Everyone who comes from 
Cheshire knows that this Union is served by the very flower of the working 
men ; and I think it is rather hard lines that these men are to suffer because 
their late secretary unfortunately got across with one or two officials of the 
Union. I think those who are conversant with the whole history of last year 
and with the feeling still in vogue will know that after all two or three persons 
might have stayed the whole thing, and as you, sir, have pointed out, 
thousands of pounds would possibly have been saved to the shareholders. 
I sincerely trust that the year 1893 will be one of continued success, and that 
we shall not have feelings strained as we have had them during 1892. I rose 
for the purpose of asking the question with regard to these investments ; at 
the same time, knowing the history of the strike from beginning to end (I 
had an interview with one of your directors at the time with regard to it), 
I must demur to the remark which has been made. I think if you had been 
a resident in Cheshire and it had been possible for you to come and meet the 
working men yourself, the strike itself might have been averted. 

Dr. McDougall : What was the cost of the picnic between Liverpool and 
Winsford ? I object to the picnic expense. I have been looking over the 
articles of association, and I cannot find anything there that would entitle 

H 



76 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

you to charge for it. I should also like to ask you whether you have a working 
agreement with the United Alkali people at the present time ; also, whether 
you would mind telling us who are the salt distributors with whom you have 
made agreements, and whether any of those with whom you have made 
agreements have adopted a colourable method of evading them ? 

The Chairman : Perhaps I had better answer Dr. McDougall's questions 
first. With regard to the cost of the picnic to Winsford, it strikes me that 
there are occasions when a great Company like this does positively derive 
advantage and profit by going to a small expense in order to bring around 
them a large number of their influential customers, taking them to Winsford 
and showing them how large their works are, and generally acting the part 
of hosts. It is a thing that is constantly done. . . . 

I think we were perfectly justified, and that it had a good effect. 
It brought a number of our customers together, many of whom had 
never seen our works at Winsford, and had no idea how extensive they 
were. It generally promoted good feeling, and I trust that it will result 
in good business in the future. As regards the working agreement with the 
United Alkali, I think those questions are rather verging upon those which 
we have a right not to answer, but I do not mind saying that we have made 
some chemical arrangements. I think, however, it is better, in the present 
state of the trade, not to say how much we have done or what we have done. 
Then as regards distributors' working agreements, I do not quite see how I 
can answer that. I do not know what Dr. McDougall hints at ; it is a very 
vague question as to whether any distributors have kept their agreement or 
not. . . . With regard to what Mr. McDowell said about the general manager, 
you know opinions vary very much as to the desirability of one form of 
government and another. I think there is a great deal to be said for what 
Mr. McDowell maintained in favour of a general manager, which is very 
important and very valuable, but at the same time I wish, with all deference 
to him and with all deference to you, to point out that you have delegated 
to us the powers of management. If you have confidence in us you must 
leave us to decide when we think it is the right moment to alter the form of 
government. And the same principle that would prevent Mr. McDowell 
from suggesting the name of a manager I think we are justified in saying 
would also apply in this case. We, as directors, must exercise our own judg- 
ment as to the time of altering the form of government or as to whether it 
shall be changed at all. If you have confidence in us you will keep us ; if 
you have not, then you must get rid of us ; only that is one of those things 
which peculiarly comes under the province of the Board that they should 
decide for themselves the time for making any alterations in the form of 

government I may just mention as a proof of our desire for economy 

that this room which you meet in to-day, only costs ^5 55., and the room we 
used to have in Cannon Street Hotel cost 12 123. so that the Board have 
already saved 7 73. to-day for you. . . I may also point out that every time 
we absorb a distributor we reduce our difficulties, and I hope the time may 
come when we shall not have these terrible covenants and engagements all 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 77 

around us. I agree with what Mr. McDowell said about the importance of 
having a large reserve fund. This year there was a question whether we 
should pay this dividend or put it all to reserve. Speaking for myself, I 
thought that under the circumstances, having had this strike, and having 
had exceptionally bad trade, and taking into consideration the fact that we 
had declared an interim dividend of 5 per cent, in the middle of the year, 
that would rather lead our shareholders to think that they should have 5 per 
cent, at the end of the year under those circumstances we thought it better 
to make it 5 per cent, this year. I am perfectly certain that everyone on 
the Board desires and is anxious to strengthen the position of the Company, 
and there is no danger of our being led away to the course of paying large 
dividends and not building up the reserve of the Company. . . . 

ELECTION OF DIRECTORS : AN AMENDMENT. 

The Chairman : I next move " That Mr. Edward Sabine Baring-Gould 
and Mr. Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell be hereby re-elected directors of the 
Company." 

Dr. McDougall : Perhaps, sir, you will be kind enough to put the names 
separately. 

The Chairman : Yes, I will do so ; I will move " That Mr. E. S. Baring- 
Gould be hereby re-elected a director of this Company." 

Mr. John Falk : I second that. 

Dr. McDougall : I move as an amendment " That Mr. John Brundit, of 
the Highlands, Runcorn, be elected as a director in the place of Mr. Baring- 
Gould." The Cheshire shareholders have had some reason to complain of 
the want of attention they have received on several occasions from the 
directorate, especially the London directorate. The election of a Cheshire 
man who is thoroughly conversant and in touch with the district, and a 
practical business man, in place of Mr. Gould would, I believe, strengthen 
this Board very considerably. If you go back on the history of this Company 
for the last four years you will remember that the prospectus was issued 
with a considerable nourish of trumpets, and you and other of your directors 
at present on the Board were signatories to that prospectus. You promised 
the shareholders that they were to receive something like 18 per cent., but 
the result has been that we have had a sliding scale since the first year. You 
committed the initial mistake of permitting a 10 per cent, dividend to be 
paid to vendors who had sold works and already received a large amount of 
money for them. The market was sweetened for their benefit, with the sad 
result that the ordinary shares have gone down something like 55 per cent. 
I think the time has come when the shareholders should be represented. Up 
to the present time the directorate has been practically a directors' and not 
a shareholders' directorate. There are two directors, or rather one, only who 
represents shareholders at the present moment, and that is Mr. Ward. He 
was put on the directorate by a meeting of the shareholders some two years 
ago. Mr. McDowell is thoroughly conversant with this fact. I think we 
ought to have another director from that part of the country, to see if it is 



78 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

possible to restore more confidence in the ordinary shares of the Company. 
You may go to Liverpool and ask any broker on the Stock Exchange how 
he can account for the fall in the price of these shares, and he will tell you 
that the Stock Exchange and other persons have no confidence whatever in 
the directorate or management of this concern. I say they will actually tell 
you so. If you want to sell a dozen or twenty shares, it will have the effect 
of sending down the market something like a quarter. I myself have been a 
victim of it, and I therefore know something about it. I think the time has 
come when we ought to have some man on the Board to restore confidence. 
Mr. Brundit is at the head of a large industry, and has been brought up with 
a practical acquaintance with the management of works and workmen, and 
I therefore think he would be eminently the man to be elected upon the 
directorate. I believe he originally had some shares in this concern that 
were allotted to him, and he has not from the time of his connection with this 
Company to the present sold a single share. I think we should have in that 
part of the country some person on whom we can rely and in whom we have 
some confidence. I think the time has come when we ought to have a new 
director. We want some new blood infused into what I consider a moribund 
Board. I do not consider this as a Board which is alive to the interest of the 
shareholders. We want a strong Board. I have already said that you may 
appeal to almost any business men, and they will tell you that the Salt Union 
is badly managed. Perhaps I may be permitted to say that the United 
Alkali Company have one of the finest and strongest Boards in the United 
Kingdom, and their policy has not been a policy of paying large dividends,, 
but 

A Shareholder : I rise to a point of order. 

Dr. McDougall : I was drawing a comparison. I want to keep to the 
point. The United Alkali Company will carry ^370,000 to their next account, 
and that has been made from chemicals, and part of it from salt. 

Mr. James Handley : I know Mr. Brundit very well, and I can endorse 
all that Dr. McDougall has said as to his fitness to be a director of this 
Company or of any other Company in that neighbourhood. He has a large 
experience, he is a thoroughly practical man, and he has a large interest in 
that part of the country. I therefore beg to second the amendment. 

Mr. Pretty : I will not detain you long, for I think the sooner we arrive 
at an expression of the opinion of the assembly on this point, the better 
perhaps. I fancy we are almost unanimous. There is only one point I wish 
to take up Dr. Dougall upon. I have not the pleasure of knowing Mr. 
Brundit or Mr. Baring-Gould, and therefore I cannot speak as to the 
respective merits of either gentleman. But I must entirely traverse the 
statement that he made that the shareholders have not got confidence in the 
Board. 

Dr. McDougall : You are a distributor. 

Mr. Pretty : I speak as a distributor and as a shareholder who has not 
on every occasion been able to agree with the policy of the Board, I regret 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 79 

to say. I believe that our affairs are governed by a body of gentlemen who 
are completely wrapped up in the success of our Company, and that any 
representations that are made (as has been proved by the way in which Dr. 
McDougall has been treated) have always been received very thoughtfully, 
with the most courteous attention and the most intelligent examination. 

Mr. Williams : I will not keep the meeting more than one moment, and I 
rise only to support most heartily the election of Mr. Baring-Gould as a 
director of this Company. I come from the centre of the salt fields in 
Cheshire, and I may say that there we have absolute confidence in the Board 
of directors, and we feel in Cheshire that we have a great deal to be grateful 
for to the London directors for sticking to their guns and piloting the Salt 
Union as they have done. I should be glad to see a Cheshire man on our 
Board, or anybody else, but not at the .expense of putting one of the 
directors off. I do not think that Dr. McDougall is a man just now to offer 
any advice to us, and I am not quite sure that in the past he has been a very 
safe guide to follow for any shareholder of the Salt Union. 

Mr. Pretty : I have omitted to say one thing. I think continuity is so 
absolutely essential that it is highly desirable that Mr. Baring-Gould should 
be re-elected, and that nobody else should be put in his place who would have 
everything to learn. 

The Chairman : I will now put Dr. McDougall' s amendment, " That Mr. 
John Brundit, of the Highlands, Runcorn, merchant, be elected director in 
the place of Edward Sabine Baring-Gould, Esq." 

The amendment was then put and lost, only four voting in its favour. 

The Chairman : I will now put the original motion, " That Mr. Baring- 
Gould be re-elected a director of the Company." 

The motion was put and agreed to. 

The Chairman : I will now move " That Mr. Pasco St. Leger Grenfell be 
hereby re-elected a director of the Company." 

Mr. H. H. M. Smith seconded the resolution, which was agreed to. 

THANKS TO THE CHAIRMAN. 

Dr. McDougall : I shall now move that a most cordial vote of thanks be 
given to the Hon. Lionel Ashley for his conduct in the chair. I would like 
to say one word with regard to the chemical trade. We have an opportunity 
now of getting good works at Weston Point, close to the Manchester Ship 
Canal. It will be completed in eighteen months, and there will be five feet 
of water at their back door. If we took it, we should be in the position of 
having valuable works which would return us good profits, and perhaps as 
profitable as Messrs. Brunner, Mond's Alkali Works at Northwich, which are 
paying 50 per cent, to their shareholders, and an admirable bonus by way of 
accrued shares. I think there is something in these works, and those who 
live in the district know something of them. I am glad that the Chairman 
has said something about it, and if you come to Weston Point and that imme- 
diate neighbourhood we shall have a pilot who will show us what chemicals 
can and may and would do for the Salt Union. 



8o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

REPORT FOR 1893. 

Fifth Annual Report of the Directors for the year ended 3 ist December, 1893, 
to be presented at the Fifth Ordinary General Meeting at Winchester House, 
Old Broad Street, London, on the 2jth day of February, 1894. 

Your directors beg to present the Fifth Annual Report for the year ended 
3 ist December, 1893, with Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet. 

UNION SALT TRADE IN 1893. The gross tonnage of salt delivered by the 
Union in 1893 was 1,240,000 tons. The strike of the coal miners, lasting 
sixteen weeks, considerably curtailed the demand for salt for manufacturing 
purposes, and accentuated the trade depression in the United Kingdom. 
The commercial depression in other countries has also adversely affected 
the shipping trade of this country, and thereby diminished the quantity of 
salt required for shipment. 

COST OF MANUFACTURE. During the year there has been further con- 
centration in manufacture at the works of the Company, and the attention 
of the directors is given to any new processes or methods which tend to still 
further cheapen production. 

SALT DISTRIBUTION. The arrangements made in previous years for 
merging distributor interests in the Cheshire District in those of the Union, 
having facilitated the Company's operations, further progress in the same 
direction has been made during the past year. In the Worcestershire District, 
however, no progress can be made pending the hearing of the action against 
Mr. Corbett, which has been fixed for the 6th proximo. 

MAINTENANCE OF PLANT. The salt mines, works, pans and machinery 
in operation, steamers, barges, flats and canal boats, and the locomotives and 
other railway stock required for the Company's business, have been main- 
tained in good condition and repair. 

BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of 4,054 i6s. jd., expended 
on new works, has been charged to the general capital account. 

The amount owing by the Union at December 3ist last was i 13,016 35. 4d., 
and to the Union 170,005 195. gd. ; the cash at bankers on current and 
deposit accounts and in hand, was 92,829 us. lod. ; and bills receivable 
were 15,460 8s. lod. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for the sale of salt and brine was 
256,292 IDS. To this has to be added the sum of 
78,416 145. iod., representing the profits earned from 
carriage and other sources, making the total amount . . 334,709 4 10 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, dis- 
tributors' commission, agency, and other charges set 
forth in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all 
sources amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. 176,859 15 o 

Add the amount brought forward .. .. .. 2,8161611 

179,676 ii ii 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



81 



From this sum deduct the Debenture 
Stock interest paid on ist July, 1893, 
and ist January, 1894 

And the interim dividend to 3Oth 
June last, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares 



Total Profit 



4.5,000 o o 



35,000 o o 



^179,676 ii ii 



Leaving 

Your directors recommend that dividends for the 
half-year ended 3 ist December last be paid on and after 
the 1 6th day of March, 1894, at the rate of 7 per cent, per 
annum on the Preference Shares, which will require 

And at the rate of 3 per cent, for the year on the 
Ordinary Shares, which will absorb 

And that there be carried forward 



80,000 o o 



99,676 ii ii 



^3 5 ,000 o o 

60,000 o o 

4,676 ii ii 

^99,676 ii ii 



RESERVE FUND. Of the Reserve Fund of ^117,500 it will be observed, 
on reference to the balance sheet, that the amount invested in securities has 
been further increased to ^71,140 73. id. 

BRINE PUMPING (COMPENSATION FOR SUBSIDENCE) ACT, 1891. In con- 
junction with the Local Board and property owners at Winsford, your 
directors opposed the Provisional Order Confirmation Bill, by which 
Northwich and Winsford would have been joined in one area under one 
Compensation Board. After an exhaustive enquiry in March, 1893, extend- 
ing over six days, before a Committee of the House of Commons, the Bill 
was rejected. 

DIRECTORS. The Hon. Lionel Ashley (Chairman) and the Hon. Charles 
William Mills retire by rotation, but, being eligible, offer themselves for 
re-election. 

By Order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 
February, 1894. 



82 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

FIFTH ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

The Fifth Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders of the Salt Union, 
Limited, was held at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, on 
27th February, 1894. The Hon. Lionel Ashley, Chairman of the Company, 
presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN ON THE YEAR'S WORKING AND FUTURE POLICY. 

The Chairman : Ladies and gentlemen, I will proceed to make a few 
remarks on the report and balance sheet. The results of the past year's 
working are decidedly disappointing. But I think that we can justly say 
that we have had more than our fair share of difficulties, and that we may 
reasonably look forward to better times. There has been severe and 
universal depression of trade for the last three years, and during the last 
two years we have had no less than three strikes, which have seriously 
affected us, the last being the worst of all. Surely we have the right to 
anticipate that trade must, shortly, take a turn for the better, and that, 
even under the new trades unionism, one year in three may pass without a 

strike affecting our departments of trade Our sales tonnage for 1893 

you will see by the report was 1,240,000 tons, against 1,354,000 tons in 
1892, a decrease of about 8 per cent. . . . No doubt we have been able to make 
up elsewhere some of the loss of trade in Liverpool, and our possession of 
salt properties in various parts of the kingdom has stood us in good stead 
during the year. To Central and Southern America, owing to the political 
and monetary troubles in those regions, our trade has decreased. . . . There 
has been a further decline in the shipments to the United States, and there 
has been a still further development of salt properties in the United States. 
.... There has also been a decrease in our tonnage to the British East Indies 
during the year, but the salt we have sent there has yielded us a more satis- 
factory return. With a view of maintaining our trade, we have deemed it 
necessary to consign the salt through our own agencies to Calcutta, and we 
have been able to obtain better prices than if we had disposed of the salt 
on this side. Our guiding principle is to extend our trade in the East Indies, 
and whilst cheapening the cost to the consumer, to obtain for your salt a 
price which has some relation to the price it realises in Calcutta and other 
Eastern Ports, and in these directions we hope to make steady progress this 
year. . . . Despite, however, the general depression, we have had increases in 
tonnages in some directions. British North America offers in this respect a 
pleasing contrast. Australia also shows an improvement, and so does the 
northern part of Europe. In the inland trade, which is mostly concerned 
with the manufacture and distribution of salt for domestic purposes, we have 
made progress, and our trade in 1893 has been greater than in 1892. We 
hope further, by judicious revisions of price from time to time, to recover 

a still larger share of the business We have made further progress in 

the policy of merging the distributor interests in those of the Company, and 
that policy has been justified by results. We have obtained better prices 
than we otherwise should have done, we have diminished friction with buyers, 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 83 

and we have saved the distributor's commission. We are now distributing 
direct about 75 per cent, of the total tonnage of the Union. With those 
vendors or vendors' nominees who still retain their business as distributors 
we continue to desire to work in harmony so far as we can do so without 
sacrificing your interests. . . . An item which appears in our profit and loss 
account for the first time is that of ^1,665 for experiments and charges in 
connection with patents. A large part of this payment was the result of an 
arrangement that was entered into by the Board four years ago (I see the 
then chairman mentioned it in the meeting of 1890). The Board agreed to 
pay a certain share of the expense for testing a patent to cheapen the manu- 
facture of salt, and in return the Union was to have specially favourable 
terms if the patent turned out a success. After a long trial we concluded 
that the patent was not successful, and we have this year paid our share of 
the expenses. Up to the present we have not been able to find any new 
process that is superior to the old-fashioned methods. It is curious that 
modern science, that claims to have achieved so much, cannot improve on 
the methods of the Romans a thousand years ago, who simply boiled brine 
in an open pan. . . . Well, gentlemen, I may say of the whole Board that 
we are endeavouring to promote economy as far as it can be done without 
loss of efficiency, and we are doing all that is possible to extend our trade. 
It would be unwise perhaps to attach much importance to the improvement 
in the Board of Trade returns for the first month of 1894. But I think we 
may as prudent men assure that as far as the Union is concerned matters 
must be better than they have been during the past twelve months, and 
with this confidence we face the future. 

CRITICISMS, QUESTIONS AND REPLIES. 

Mr. W. B. Jeffreys : It must have been very disappointing to the Board 
as well as to the shareholders to observe the great falling off in the profits 
of the Union. Looking at the figures that are placed before us, I see that 
this year you only give us ^176,859, whereas in 1890 you gave us ^306,447, 
That is an enormous falling off. I hope that with the various economies 
which the Board tell us they are practising, and the improvements that we 
may look for throughout the country this year, that those figures may very 
shortly be reversed again. There is one question I should like a little informa- 
tion upon if you will not think me troubling you. I observe you quote the 
amount of investments as ^71,440. May I ask you what is done with the 
difference between that and the \ 17,500 ? Am I to take it that the difference 
is used in the business ? 

The Chairman : This is a matter which has been dealt with at two previous 
meetings. On one side you will see ^117,000, which is the reserve fund ; on 
the other side you will see the ^71,000 that is invested. The remainder is 
either in the cash balances or in the sundry debtors. It is, as has been con- 
stantly said here, employed as working capital it is part of our working 
capital. You must recollect that when the Company was first started the 
sum of a little over ^100,000 was reserved for working capital ; but in the 



84 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

course of time we purchased the works of Messrs. Bell Brothers and one or 
two others, and we found ourselves almost entirely without working capital. 

Mr. Holt : I should like to ask whether the opening of the Manchester 
Ship Canal has been any advantage or disadvantage to the Salt Union. You 
mentioned that a certain amount has been set aside for depreciation on 
steamers, barges and also rolling stock ; that the amounts have been seriously 
reduced, but nothing was said on the subject of goodwill. I should like to 
know whether anything has been set aside for the purpose of reducing this 
very large amount, which I believe was paid for goodwill, which ought, 
certainly, to be reduced every year in my opinion. 

Mr. 'Keen : I understand you to say that the extra cost in fuel from the 
coal strike was ^16,000. I should like to know what is the average cost of 
fuel on the production of each ton of salt in 1893 as compared with the cost 
of the production in 1892 ? At the same time I should like to know what was 
the average selling price per ton of salt for 1893 and the average selling price 
per ton of salt for 1892 ? I hope I have made myself clear to you. 

The Chairman : There are certain trade matters which it is not desirable 
to make public, and I am not at all sure that it would be desirable for us to 
answer this question. But I think there would not be the slightest objection, 
if Mr. Keen would come to the office, to giving him the information there. 

Mr. Keen : I do not quite see the force of this. I maintain that the 
selling price of salt has been much higher this year than last year, and that 
that has more than compensated you for the loss sustained through the 
higher price of fuel. I think the shareholders are entitled to know this. 

The Chairman : I think you must have confidence in us. You have put 
us here to manage the business, and if there is a question which you ask us 
that we do not think we can answer without injury you must take our 
answer, and I can only again repeat that if Mr. Keen likes to come to the 
office we will let him know ; but it is a very different thing from stating it 
in public and, after all, it is not a matter which affects the accounts. 

Mr. Keen : I do not quite see the force of that answer. I say that it 
does affect the accounts. . . . We cannot be prophetic, and I say these are 
matters that want careful looking into, and if the average price of salt per 
ton has been more this year than last, where is the trouble, where is the 
difficulty, and where has the money gone to ? 

The Chairman : You have to recollect there is a decrease in sales ; but 
really we cannot go on like this, you must accept my ruling. If you are not 
satisfied with it I cannot help it ; but we do not think it is to the interest 
of the Company to give you the information in public. 

Mr. Griffiths : You said that last year we lost ; 16,000 from extra price 
of fuel, which also affected the great railway companies as well as ourselves. 
It has been suggested that we should lay in a great stock of coal. Whether 
that is a wise suggestion or not I do not know, but I rather think it is not, for 
we should have to pay interest for the coal we lay in. I may say that one 
of the companies is considering the advisability of using another kind of 
fuel. They are endeavouring to run their locomotives with water heated 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 85 

by petroleum. If that is likely to be a success with locomotives, surely 
where the engines are fixed, where the boilers are fastened to the earth, we 
can use that new kind of fuel with much greater facility and with much 
greater safety, and with much more cheapness than on the railway. The 
remarks you made, sir, with respect to the working capital being taken 
from the reserve fund, I think commend themselves to the meeting, but, 
on the other hand, it is a question whether that ought not to be stated in our 
accounts. I should have thought no auditor would have allowed the reserve 
fund to appear in a certain amount when a portion of that reserve fund was 
used as working capital. That auditor, I think, has made a mistake of 
judgment. You certainly have not committed a mistake of judgment in 
using it for that purpose, for we were in want of it, and if the articles give 
you power there is no reason why it should not be so used. There was 
another remark in your speech which rather struck me. You said that the 
value of a particular part of the plant (I think it was steamers) had depre- 
ciated from ^193,000 to ^163,000. That is an enormous decrease in the short 
period of five years. You further tell us you have spent upwards of ^60,000 
in improving the character of that plant. Surely our surveyors must have 
been at fault when they allowed this particular plant to be valued at that 
very high price in the first instance. Surely there must be some persons who 
must be responsible for that gross discrepancy between the real and the 
actual value of the plant. Of course here I speak rather to ask a question 
than otherwise, for without having the full details before one it is not safe 
to hazard an opinion, but I would suggest that if you can you ought to make 
some persons responsible for selling plant at ^193,000 which, within this 
short period, has depreciated to ^163,000, though during that same period 
you have spent upon it upwards of ^60,000. 

The Chairman : As regards the use of mineral oil instead of coal as fuel, 
I may say we did send people to inspect the works of certain companies and 
railways to see how the oil was being employed, but we came to the conclusion 
after consultation that the expense of changing the mode of heating would 
be so great that it would not pay us, and, you see, these strikes may last a 
very short time. When the strike began it was possible that the whole thing 
might have been over in a week, and if we had proceeded to an enormous 
outlay in adapting our furnaces to a new mode of heating and then the strike 
had come to an end we should have felt we had wasted your money. As 
regards the reserve fund, as a Board of Directors we have without regard to 
the auditors absolute right by the articles of association to utilize the reserve 
fund in any way we may think fit, and it is rather late now to come and say 
that any shareholder does not approve of it, because I say for two years we 
have distinctly told them that it is absolutely necessary that part of the 
reserve fund should be used as working capital. We had no working capital 
left, and it was the best way of serving the interests of the shareholders. It 
is not a question that the auditors have anything to do with at all, as by the 
articles of association we can utilize the reserve fund in any way we think 
proper. We could take the whole of it and give it as an increase of dividends 



86 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

if we chose. There is nothing we might not do with it. Then with regard 
to the amount of barges written off, I would point out that we have sold 
barges, as I mentioned in my speech those barges that did not suit our 
requirements for a certain number of thousands of pounds, and because we 
reduced the capital value of the barges by the amounts realised, it does not 
follow that the barges are not worth more. But, as you know, sensible 
people always value their property at less than they think, perhaps, it would 
fetch as a going concern, and as far as we know in fact we do know that 
item of craft is in better order for our requirements than it was when we first 
got them, though we have sold a certain number. The money that we 
received from the barges has been written off that craft account, and has been 
credited to the general capital account. 

Mr. Holt : I do not think you have answered my question about the 
goodwill. 

The Chairman : As regards the goodwill you will recollect that the former 
chairman had to state once or twice that we took over the whole property 
and paid for it in a lump, at a price of about ^3,400,000 I believe. It was 
quite impossible to say what of that represented the goodwill, plant or land 
or buildings or houses. We have got the land intact, and we have got the 
buildings, and we have got the plant in good order. We have spent during 
the five years we have had the property ^282,000 upon maintaining and 
improving it, and we may also consider it as certain that in our reserve fund 
there is a certain provision against the depreciation of our property. I may 
say, in fact, that our property has not depreciated during the five years we 
have been in possession of it, but it would be impossible to take a bit of it 
and say, " So much for goodwill and so much for works," as it was all paid 
in a lump. We were glad to get the properties in a time when we were more 
prosperous than now, but as we paid for them in a lump it is impossible to 
say how much represents goodwill. 

In reply to some questions put by Dr. McDougall, the Chairman said : 
I shall have to make the same answer to Dr. McDougall that I made to Mr. 
McDowell last year, which is that while you have a Board of Directors whom 
you are willing to maintain in their places you must allow them discretion 
as to the management. It is distinctly part of the business of the Board to 
decide how the concern shall be managed. It is true that possibly our present 
system is not an ideal one, but in our opinion it is the best one to suit the 
circumstances at present. There is no knowing what we may be able to do 
later on, when we have won all our lawsuits and become such friends with 
all outstanding distributors that we can lie down with them like lambs. 
Then possibly we may have a free hand to make a fresh start. I do not say 
that we need postpone it until then, but at present I think that it is the best 
system under the circumstances. But as I said last year, we will bear it in 
mind, and the moment we think the time has come for alteration in the 
management, we shall be happy to carry out what has been expressed by so 
many of the shareholders. 

The resolution as to the adoption of the report and balance sheet was 
then put to the meeting from the chair and carried unanimously. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 87 



REPORT FOR 1894. 

Sixth Annual Report of the Directors for the year ended $ist December, 1894, 
to be presented at the Sixth Ordinary General Meeting at Winchester House, 
Old Broad Street, London, on the 2jth day of February, 1895. 

UNION SALT TRADE IN 1894. The gross tonnage of salt delivered by the 
Union in 1894 was 1,284,000 tons. 

The great depression in the large manufacturing industries in Lancashire 
reduced the demand for salt for manufacturing purposes to a point even 
lower than that of 1893, when the coal strike paralysed these industries 
during several months. Nevertheless, the trade as a whole shows an increase 
upon that of the year 1893. 

In the export branch of its trade the Union has to meet competition in 
all quarters of the world, necessitating frequent revision of prices to meet 
native and foreign salts in various markets. 

COST OF MANUFACTURE. In this direction further economies have been 
made, and others will result when greater concentration of working is 
possible. 

SALT DISTRIBUTION. Material progress has been made during the year 
both in the Cheshire and the Worcestershire Districts in bringing the Union 
into direct relation with its customers. 

As announced in the directors' circular of loth May last, an arrangement 
has been made for taking over Mr. Corbett's distribution business as from 
ist July last, and ending the litigation which had arisen. In both these 
districts the cancellation of onerous covenants and obligations to vendors, 
though it has involved considerable payment, has been of substantial 
pecuniary benefit to the Union, and has greatly facilitated its operations. 

MAINTENANCE OF PLANT. The salt mines, works, pans and machinery 
in operation, steamers, barges, flats and canal boats, and the locomotives and 
other railway stock, required for the Company's business, have been main- 
tained in good repair and condition. A number of new wagons have been 
built, to replace others which were no longer serviceable, the cost of their 
construction being charged to revenue account. 

DURHAM DISTRICT. In pursuance of the terms on which the Port 
Clarence property was acquired, about ^5,500 has been spent during the 
year in the extension and development of those works. The further capital 
expenditure in this direction, in the present and following years, will enable 
the Union to obtain a larger proportion of the Durham salt trade. 

BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of 7,902 35. nd., expended 
on new works, has been charged to the general capital account. 



88 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



The amount owing by the Union at 3ist December last was 
160,381 IDS. id., and to the Union 156,959 125. 4d. ; the cash at bankers 
on current and deposit accounts, and in hand, was 41,827 2s. /d. ; and bills 
receivable amounted to 9,091 I2s. id. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for the sale of salt and brine 
was 235,551 8s. 8d. To this has to be added the sum of 
83,975 i os. 8d., representing the profits earned from 
carriage and other sources, making the total amount .. 319,526 19 4 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, dis- 
tributors' discounts, agency, and other charges set forth 
in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all sources 
amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 170,482 6 o 

Add the amount brought forward . . . . ... 4,676 1 1 1 1 

175,158 17 ii 

From this sum deduct the Debenture Stock interest paid 
on ist July, 1894, and ist January, 1895 45,ooo o o 



Leaving 

Your directors recommend that dividends for the year 
ended 3 ist December last be declared at the rate of 7 per 
cent, on the Preference Shares, which will require. . 

And at the rate of 2^ per cent, for the year on the 
Ordinary Shares, which will absorb 

And that there be carried forward 



130,158 17 



70,000 o o 

50,000 o o 
10,158 17 II 

130,158 17 II 



In order to liberate these profits for dividend, and in order to provide at 
the same time additional working capital, your directors recommend the 
scheme which is embodied in the following paragraph. 

FINANCE. The attention of the shareholders has, at various times, been 
called to the fact that, owing to the acquisition of additional properties after 
the incorporation of the Company, the Union has been left without sufficient 
working capital. 

Whilst the Reserve Fund has, to a large extent, been utilized in the 
business, it has been possible to acquire and carry on the salt distribution 
and general financial administration without raising further capital. The 
aggregate expenditure in the purchase of new freehold and long leasehold 
properties, the redemption of covenants and obligations to vendors, the 
acquisition of trade marks and distribution businesses, the extension of the 
Company's direct commercial relations with its customers at home and 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 89 

abroad, the present and future extensions at Middlesbrough, and the 
advisability of the Reserve Fund being easily realisable, now render it 
desirable to raise further capital, as it is only by this means that the 
Company can obtain the advantages which an adequate supply of working 
capital affords. 

Since the incorporation more than 375,000 has thus been expended on 
Capital Account ; your directors propose, therefore, without reduction, to 
raise a sum not exceeding 250,000, by means of 4^ per cent. Debenture 
Stock, and at the Meeting on February 2jth there will be submitted the 
following 

RESOLUTION : 

" That the directors be and are hereby authorised to create and 
issue not exceeding 250,000 of B Mortgage Debenture Stock, bearing 
interest at the rate of four and a half per cent, per annum, payable 
ist January and ist July, and to be constituted and secured by a Trust 
Deed and Debentures creating (i) a first charge upon the property 
purchased, or agreed to be purchased, by the Company after the 8th 
October, 1888, and (2) a second charge upon the Undertaking and all 
other the Property of the Company, ranking after the existing issue of 
1,000,000 of four and a half per cent. First Mortgage Debenture Stock, 
in such form as the directors think expedient." 

PARLIAMENTARY. For the protection of your interests it has been 
necessary to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on various Canal 
Tolls and Charges Provisional Order Confirmation Bills, whereby advantage 
will accrue to the Union, especially in the case of the River Weaver 
Navigation, where a reduction in the maximum toll charging power has been 
secured. 

Under the Weaver Navigation Act of 1893, the Weaver Trustees have 
this Session introduced a Bill for the reconstitution and management of the 
Trust, but inasmuch as the Bill does not give adequate representation to the 
toll payers, nor apply the surplus revenues of the Navigation in reduction of 
tolls, your Company, as the largest, and Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co., 
Limited, as the second largest toll payers, have also introduced Bills to 
effect these purposes. 

By Order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 
1 6, EASTCHEAP, 

LONDON, E.G., 

1 9th February, 1895. 



90 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

SIXTH ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

The Sixth Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders of the Salt Union, 
Limited, was held at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, on 
February 2/th, 1895. The Hon. Lionel Ashley, Chairman of the Company, 
presided. 

The Chairman said : Gentlemen, you will have seen from our report that 
the sales tonnage for 1894 amounted to 1,284,000 tons, as against 1,240,000 
in 1893 ; that is an increase of about 3^ per cent. This increase in the 
aggregate tonnage would have been much greater if it had not been for the 
depression in the large manufacturing industries of Lancashire and elsewhere. 
The demand for salt for manufacturing purposes has never been lower than 
it has been in the last year since the Union was formed. There has been a 
considerable increase in the tonnage sold, with some slight reduction in price 
compared with previous years. The salt manufacturers outside the Union 
have recognised that there is over-production, and some of them have from 
time to time approached us with proposals, but we have declined to come to 
any arrangement which did not include all outside manufacturers, and which, 
while reducing production, did not establish moderate prices. The volume 
of the export trade has not been unsatisfactory. The total tonnage of salt 
exported from Liverpool has been 80,000 tons more than in 1893, an increase 
of about 16 per cent., and this is in spite of the fact that the number of ocean- 
going ships out of Liverpool has been only 2j per cent, more than 1893, and 
in ocean-going tonnage the increase has only been 6J per cent. For the first 
time for many years past there has been an increase in the salt tonnage to 
the United States, due partly to the remission of the salt duty, and partly 
to some alterations in our trading arrangements there which we have made, 
and which have given us a freer hand. The benefit of the abolition of the 
duty has only been felt in the last four months of last year ; in the earlier 
part of the year the uncertainty as to the result of the tariff discussions 
paralysed shipments to the United States. Under the old law, as many of 
you are aware, a heavy tax was imposed on all salt imported into the States, 
but a rebate of 90 per cent, was allowed when salt used for commodities was 
exported from the States. But under the Wilson Tariff Act the duty is not 
chargeable upon salt, but the ad valorem duty is charged on bags containing 
it. To South America, Africa and Australia there have also been increased 
shipments, and there is reason to hope that with the growth of exports of 
dairy produce and preserved meat from Australia there will be a correspond- 
ing increase in the quantity of salt exported from England to that continent, 
for the Australian purchasers and merchants are keenly alive to the import- 
ance of the best and purest salts being used for these purposes. To Holland 
there has been a decrease, due to the competition of German manufacturers, 
and due to the advantage they derive from cheap and excellent river and 
canal communication. The tonnage to the Baltic and to the other ports in 
Northern Europe in the aggregate has remained stationary, but we hope that 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 91 

as the result of the journey of one of our chief officials, Mr. Pretty, who has 
taken a journey to those ports, the fish curers will become convinced of the 
superiority of brine-evaporated salt over the solar salt, which must necessarily 
contain impurities. Not the least service rendered by Mr. Pretty to the salt 
trade has been his obtaining a reduction of 50 per cent, in the Finnish customs 
duty on English salt. In the Indian trade we have been passing through 
rather a critical period. Many of you here are doubtless aware that prior to the 
formation of the Salt Union the competition amongst salt manufacturers in 
Cheshire was so severe that the shippers of salt to India were able to buy 
salt at the bare cost of production, and sometimes even less, and to get a 
good rate of freight and yet make satisfactory profits in India. After the 
Salt Union was formed the price of salt in Liverpool was increased, and as 
the sale price in Calcutta went down, freight and profits of the shippers and 
exporters were reduced. This result was as unsatisfactory to them as the 
previous condition of the market was to salt manufacturers. Well, in 
February, 1892, at the general meeting, I expressed our regret that in the 
battle of salt in Calcutta the results were so unsatisfactory to shippers, but 
at the same time, and again in 1893, I said that we were determined at all 
hazards to retain the market and to maintain and increase our tonnage sold. 
And in 1894 I said that in order to maintain our trade we had found it 
necessary to consign salt through our own agencies to Calcutta. No doubt 
the result for the time has been increased competition, but we have, whenever 
we could, entered into friendly alliance with shipowners. Combinations in 
important matters of this kind are difficult to bring about, and probably 
they are never achieved without some misunderstandings, but it is my 
pleasant duty to report to you to-day that we have now concluded arrange- 
ments extending over a period of years with large steamship firms who trade 
to Calcutta, and we believe that the outcome both to our allies and to this 
Company will be mutually advantageous, giving much better results to our 
Indian trade. You will see by the statement I have made that the past 
year has been a fighting year, and that we have had to adopt a fighting 
policy. We have had to fight against unusual competition, especially in 
India, and we have had to struggle against the depression in chemicals. I 
have already told you that the outlook in India is more promising, and we 
may assume, I think, that the reduction in chemical stocks will improve the 
demand for chemical salts ; at all events we may expect that the simultaneous 
failure of two most extensive branches of our trade is not likely to recur. 
We have not lost sight of China as a possible market, but our efforts in that 
direction up to the present have so far brought no result. We are ready to 
take advantage of any change that may occur in consequence of the war. 
Our policy of acquiring vendors' covenants and assimilating distributors' 
interests has been further extended this year, and been justified by results. 
It was only with monopoly conditions that we could carry on the business 
under the system of distribution for which vendors stipulated, probably 
under a mistaken belief that monopoly in salt was possible. Under the 
distributor system, we have not been able to trade on ordinary commercial 

i 



92 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

lines, and some covenants bound us hand and foot. We have bought many 
of these vendors' covenants, trade marks and businesses as cheaply as we 
could, and the yearly profit we have hitherto realised on the purchase price 
has averaged 20 per cent. It should be further pointed out that now about 
80 per cent, of the whole of our business is in our own hands, and one of the 
results of our trading is that the figures of 1 894 are the first in the history of 
the Union which show an expansion of trade compared with previous years. 
This has been achieved in spite of the greatly reduced demand for chemical 
salt, and it is satisfactory to know that all our districts have contributed to 
this increase. Much time during this year was given to the matters in con- 
nection with the Corbett, Delamere and Deakin lawsuits, which I mentioned 
the last time I met you here. We can all congratulate ourselves on the result 
of the two first-named actions. We took over Corbett's business on the ist 
July, and have therefore only six months' profits shown in our accounts, but 
in that period we have made profits at the rate of 13 per cent, per annum on 
the amount paid for the business, and we may hope the results will be still 
better when we have been longer in possession. One important part of the 
settlement is the relief we obtain from covenants which prevented the free 
working of our business as between Cheshire and Worcestershire. We have 
the written opinion of Sir Charles Russell (now Lord Chief Justice) and Mr. 
Cozens Hardy, Q.C., that the settlement we came to was one, in their opinion, 
greatly to the benefit of the shareholders. Not only have the brine lands 
which Mr. Corbett held at the time the Union was formed been retained, but 
the land he bought subsequently. They cannot enter into competition. 
The action brought by Lord Delamere's trustees was eventually settled out 
of court. The trustees agreed not to take advantage of any technical points 
which might be in their favour in our lease, and we undertook to carry out, 
during a period of years, certain improvements in the leaseholds which would 
be of benefit both to the leaseholder and to the freeholder. So that the first 
two lawsuits we have got rid of. Messrs. Deakin's action is still sub judice, 
but we are confident in the justice of our case, and hope before long that we 
shall be free from heavy lawsuits. If you turn to the profit and loss account, 
you will see our gross profit on salt and brine is about ^20,000 less than in 
1893, and this although we sold 44,000 tons more salt. Prices both in the 
inland and export markets fell in 1894, and the fuel bill in 1894 was not much 
less than in 1893, for the effect of the coal strike was felt many months after 
the strike was settled. Our profit as carriers is larger, owing mainly to the 
increased tonnage. In relation to this we are still in friendly negotiations 
with the railway companies for settlement of questions as to private sidings 
and wastings under the Railway and Canal Act, 1892. In order to preserve 
our position under the Act of last year, we lodged our complaints last Saturday 
with the Board of Trade ; but we still hope by mutual concession to be able 
to settle with the companies direct. To turn to the other side of the profit 
and loss account, "maintenance of plant" cost ^6,800 more than in 1893. 
From our cost sheets, as well as from observation, we know our plant to be in 
excellent condition, and no wonder, considering that we have during the last 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 93 

six years spent out of revenue 330,800 in maintenance. Administration 
expenses show an increase compared with 1893, due mainly to the steps we 
have taken for the development of new branches of trade. Rates and taxes 
are 500 less, but we have paid since the formation of the Company, under 
this head, about 40,000. Law and Parliamentary expenses are 600 less 
than in 1894. As you know, the Parliamentary Committee in 1893 rejected 
the proposal to group Northwich and Winsford in one area under the Brine 
Pumping Compensation Act. Subsequently a number of Northwich property 
owners thought it well to petition the Local Government Board to form an 
area embracing Northwich, Winsford, Middlewich and Sandbach, and we 
thought it right to again appear before the Local Government Board Inspector 
and to show that we ought not to be called upon to pay for damage done by 
others. This inquiry was held about a year ago, and no new order has yet 
been drafted, so that we presume the authorities recognise the difficulties 
inherent in the Act of 1891. In our opinion, the only satisfactory and per- 
manent solution of the difficulty would be to individualize the responsibility, 
both as regards the pumpers and as regards the districts. We have had also 
to appear before the Parliamentary Committee dealing with the schedule of 
tolls for the Weaver Navigation. The Committee rejected a schedule proposed 
by the Board of Trade, and accepted that proposed by the Weaver Trustees, 
which continued the existing maximum powers. In conjunction with Messrs. 
Brunner, Mond & Co., we consulted the Board of Trade, and as a result a 
conference was held, under the presidency of Sir Courtenay Boyle, with the 
Weaver Trustees, and the maximum toll on salt was reduced from is. to lod. 
per ton. This reduction is some alleviation of the excessive toll which has 
been imposed on us in the past, but we think that even this reduced toll will 
in time be found in excess of the navigation requirements. The Weaver 
Trustees have this session lodged a Bill for the reform of their constitution. 
So we have lodged a Bill of our own, which would give increased representa- 
tion to traders, and which would prevent the levying of toll on trade for the 
benefit of county rates. Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. have lodged a Bill for 
similar objects, but I think we have now agreed to unite in supporting one 
Bill for our common purposes. Turning to the paragraph headed " Finance," 
it will be remembered that when the Union was started we had about 
300,000 of working capital, but subsequent purchases which were deemed 
expedient in Durham, Cheshire and Worcestershire, absorbed a very large 
portion of the money. Still, as shareholders will recollect, by the help of the 
reserve fund, which I have told you year after year was being utilized in the 
business of the Company, we have been enabled to get along up to the present 
without raising further capital, but we have had to pay this year specially 
large sums for the acquisition of distribution businesses and of covenants 
with vendors. Moreover, as I mentioned before, in order to retain our hold 
of the Indian trade, we have had to increase our stocks in Calcutta and afloat 
so as to show to our competitors that nothing will prevent our supplying that 
market. These arrangements, as also our increased direct trade in the room 
of the former distributors, have caused us to lock up in our business not 



94 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

only the greater part of our reserve fund, but also the greater part of the 
year's profits. This lock-up we wish to put an end to by providing more 
capital, and I maintain that it is not a true statement of the case, as some 
critics have put it, that we propose to borrow money at 4^ per cent, in order 
to pay a dividend of 2^ per cent. We propose to borrow at 4^ per cent, in 
order to get a much higher rate of interest for the money used as working 
capital. It is true that at the moment our profits have been lent to capital, 
but by providing real working capital we shall restore our profits to their 
proper position and make them available for dividends. If we had proposed 
to the shareholders in the summer to raise the capital required for the 
purchase of Mr. Corbett's and other businesses, it would have been acknow- 
ledged even by our critics that we were investing our money at a high rate 
of interest. What difference does it make that we do it now instead of in 
the summer ? We are equally raising money at 4^ per cent, which will pay 
us 13 per cent, or more. It has been further said that the more properties 
we buy the worse off we are, and that these purchases have resulted in a 
dividend of 2\ per cent, instead of 10 per cent., as in the first year's working. 
Gentlemen, my answer to that is that if we had not made these purchases 
we could not even have paid a dividend of 2^ per cent. . . . After careful 
consideration, therefore, we ask you for power to raise a sum not exceeding 
^250,000 by means of 4^ B Mortgage Redeemable Debenture Stock in such 
a manner as the Board shall think fit. The Board do not propose to issue 
more than ^200,000 at present, and in the allotment of stock applied for 
they propose to give the preference first to the applications of shareholders, 
and next to the applications of debenture holders. The stock will be issued 
at a moderate premium, and will be redeemable at a slightly increased 
premium over that, but the details of the issue will be made known in due 
time. We are at present making the arrangements, but they are not 
complete. As regards directors, two members retiring by rotation and 
offering themselves for re-election are Mr. Turner and Mr. Ward. Of Mr. 
Turner I have not a word to change in what I said of him in 1892, when he 
was re-elected. I said then, and I say now, that Mr. Turner has done 
invaluable work for the Union. . . . Mr. Ward is also an old friend. His 
sound judgment and knowledge of the trade and his zeal for the welfare of 
the Company have made him valuable and a valued member of the Board. 
In the course of last year we lost, to our great regret, the assistance of Mr. 
Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell. The number of vacancies on the Board is there- 
fore two, and the shareholders will recollect that the number of directors has 
been fixed at nine. The directors propose to leave those other vacancies 
unfilled at present, but they will be available at any time, if it should be found 
desirable, to appoint any gentleman with special knowledge or special influence 
in business connected with our trade. Our auditors and there will be a 
resolution proposing their re-election have, in consequence of our distribu- 
tion agencies, had much more work to do during the last year than in 
previous years. From them we have received valuable advice and suggestions 
as to the accounts ; and helping us as they do we should gladly welcome any 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 95 

proposal from you by which their fees might be increased from the present 
amount of 150 guineas to 225 guineas each. . . . Since our last meeting the 
Board, in conformity with the expressed wish of many of the shareholders, 
and also as the result of their own careful consideration, have appointed a 
general manager. They have appointed to that office Mr. Fells, who for 
some years past has been taking a considerable share in the general superin- 
tendence of the business. . . . The Board can also speak highly of the services 
rendered by Mr. Wickes, the secretary, and by the rest of our staff. Perhaps 
some of our good critics may say, in answer to these appreciatory remarks, 
both as regards the directors and as regards the staff, that it is a pity that so 
much talent and energy should not have produced better results. The old 
saying is as true as ever, that no one can command success. Well, gentlemen, 
I do not venture to prophesy as to the course of trade, but we cannot think 
that the stagnation of industry during the past can continue. We may 
expect that our export trade will be maintained at better prices. We shall 
pay less for our fuel and less for our tolls on the Weaver. We hope to be 
free from heavy losses, and we hope still more to improve the profits of our 
distribution agencies. All these points should give us courage. 

Mr. C. A. McDowell : I have listened with very great pleasure to the 
speech which our chairman has made. With much of it I agree, but from 
some of it I differ. I shall begin by referring to the financial scheme for 
rehabilitating our reserve fund and getting back money taken in the past 
from our dividends. I can heartily support all that. As against our in- 
debtedness, the directors ask for a credit of a quarter of a million. I do not 
think that unreasonable. But in relation to our indebtedness I have one 
thing to say, and that is that we shareholders are brought into debt without 
any consultation or any consideration. We have reason to regret that our 
directors have the power to get us into debt. Our chairman very justly 
commented upon the valuable property acquired from Mr. Corbett. I have 
no hesitation in saying, from what I know of the property acquired from 
Mr. Corbett, that the revenue from it alone will amply pay the interest on 
the loan that is asked for, if properly managed. ... I suggest to our directors 
that they will not allow any undue interference in the management of Mr. 
Corbett's business, but will leave it in the competent hands in which it is 
at present, and then success is sure to ensue. ... In the year 1892, a contract 
was entered into with one of the best firms in Liverpool, Messrs. Brocklebank. 
The name of the firm is a household word. Their honour, integrity and 
ability to meet their indebtedness is unquestioned. They took 75,000 tons 
a year of your salt. A contract was entered into with those gentlemen for 
two years at a certain price, thus giving them some slight advantage over the 
small purchasers. The contract was to last for two years, and they were to 
have such terms as no other party taking a less quantity of salt was to be 
given. They were bound hand and foot. Some of the officers of the 
Company wanted to do a smart thing I do not know whether the directors 
or the Executive Committee will endorse their action they connived at or 
assisted in the formation of a syndicate of small men who purchased a 






96 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

quantity of salt equal to Brocklebank's, and Brocklebanks, although they 
had entered into this honourable contract, found competitors in the market 
under conditions which they never conceived would have been carried out. 
My idea of this transaction is that it was wrong. There was a gross breach 
of the arrangements with Messrs. Brocklebank, and they resented it. The 
contract was for two years. It was, I believe, a verbal one. I do not know 
that it was anything else, but at the end of the first year Messrs. Brocklebank 
said, " We will have nothing more to do with you : keep your salt. You 
have broken faith with us : keep your salt." What was the result ? Messrs. 
Brocklebank went to our opponents and got their salt, and we were left with 
our salt on our hands. What were we to do ? Well, in the words of our 
chairman, we established our own agency. We appointed one of our directors 
as agent. I do not know, gentlemen, whether according to our articles of 
association we were justified in doing so. I am not lawyer enough to know, 
but according to the articles of association no director can have any dealings 
with the Company of which he is a director. The clause states, " The office 
of a director shall be vacated " not " may be," but " shall be " " if he 
accepts or holds any other office under the Company except that of chairman, 
deputy-chairman or managing director." That is the article of association, 
that if a director accepts any office under the Company his position is vacated. 
Well, gentlemen, we appointed our own agent, and we appointed Mr. Turner, 
and we shipped our salt, with the result at the end of the year that there 
are 22,000 tons in stock, and it will be there for some time still, as the fresh 
salt going in will keep it there. That is how our Calcutta business stands at 
present. It has been stated that we have coerced Brocklebanks into a 
coalition. That is wrong, gentlemen. I proclaim it is not the case ; we 
have not coerced them. Mutual friends have intervened and brought 
Messrs. Brocklebank to the Union, and a very amicable arrangement has 
been entered into, and I am in hopes that this year we may wipe out the loss 
we made on last year's shipping. That is how that matter stands. I have 
the average shipment here for five years, and I find that owing to our inter- 
ference in Calcutta we last year shipped 17,716 tons above the average of the 
five years. I do not think that was wise. Results have shown that it was 
not so, and I am afraid results later on will show that we have made a mistake 
thereto. Now I come to the American market, to which our chairman 
referred. I do not profess to know as much of other markets as some 
gentlemen here, but I have been intimately connected with the American 
market for forty years. I conducted my business there myself. I went out 
every year, and I made my contracts for my whole year's production, and I 
came back with them, and I do not say it boastingly, but when the Salt 
Union took over my works, small though they were, I was enabled to show 
their own accountant that I was making ^10,000 a year for several years 
before they took them over. Well, with the works they took over the 
management : our manager commenced to manage the works, and under his 
management your profits have fallen 50 per cent. I do not wonder at it. I 
know the Americans intimately. I have been there every year for twenty 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 97 

years I was there last year for pleasure, and the year before for pleasure, 
but I looked into the trade in which I was engaged previously. I tell you 
I am not at all surprised that on that one item alone you have decreased 
your profit by 50 per cent, on the management there. I never knew anything 
like it. When I went out to America I met a contractor, and we discussed 
the future state of the market I came home with a contract in my pocket, 
equitable and fair to him, profitable to me. I never allowed one contract to 
expire before I made another. It is not so here, gentlemen. The gentleman 
who has charge of your business and contract-making was too busy on legal 
and other matters to engage in these American contracts. Time slipped by, 
circumstances altered, panics came on, and when our manager was ready to 
make the contract the contractor declined to do it. That is how it went on. 
I believe in the five years just past that your company succeeded in making 
two contracts. I do not believe three I speak subject to correction ; 
but I think it was only two. They were going from hand to mouth. But 
in America you have to make your contracts beforehand, send out your 
travellers, make your arrangements for the year if you leave it to the end 
your contractor will have gone elsewhere. There is another question of 
management which will appeal to all commercial men here. In some 
southern markets a particular grain of American salt was taking the lead. 
Your agent out there saw this, and wanted to introduce English salt to take 
its place. He obtained a sample of the salt and sent it over to the Union, a 
very common sample of salt, nothing very particular at all ; it ought to be 
produced in at least a month by experiment. I mean to say after a month's 
experiment it ought to be produced with ease. It took more than a year to 
produce this article, and in the meantime the American salt was taking hold. 
At last it was produced. The man who sent the sample over wanted to get 
control of that salt, and he offered to take 6,000 or 8,000 tons right away. 
But your manager did not see that it was right to give that man the control 
of that salt, and he did not, and after the man had sent out travellers all about 
for the sale of the salt in the south, he was told, " You cannot have a 
monopoly in this, although you have introduced it," and they sold the same 
salt to traders in Savannah and Charlestown. I do not think that is business. 
It may be, but it is not what I was accustomed to. Now I come to the point 
where the chairman adverted to the appointment of a general manager. On 
many occasions here I have advocated, and I still advocate, the appointment 
of a proper general manager for a concern like this. I have advocated it 
over and over again, that no concern of the magnitude of this should go on 

without a proper and experienced general manager I suggested that 

they should go far afield and get offers from gentlemen competent to take 
the office. My advice was not taken : they stayed at home and took their 
accountant. Of Mr. Fells personally I have not one word to say, he is an 
exceedingly clever accountant, an exceedingly clever man, but he is not the 
man for the office that they have given him, for this reason : he is an 
excellent man at accounts, he is an excellent man in cases of litigation, but 
when it comes to dealing with men he has signally failed he antagonizes 



98 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

them until they are swearing at him : every man he comes in contact with in 
business he antagonizes and makes an enemy of . ... I suggest that a committee 
of shareholders ought to be appointed to assist the directors in the matter 
of business and other things that come before them. If you have a railway 
company you cannot make a switch without the consent of your share- 
holders, you have to go to Parliament. Here you may be committed to any 
amount you like. I suggest that a committee of shareholders to assist the 
directors would be advantageous to them and satisfactory to the shareholders. 
With regard to Mr. Turner's re-election, I mentioned it incidentally that 
legally I did not think he was entitled to re-election. 

The Chairman : Perhaps I may be allowed, as Mr. McDowell has made 
so many statements and brought in so much that is argumentative, to 
answer him at once. When Mr. McDowell says he has brought before you 
a large number of facts I should like to say that there is hardly a single fact 
amongst the whole lot, as I will now proceed to show you. ... As regards 
Messrs. Brocklebanks' contract, I maintain that they knew of this so-called 
underhand arrangement, we told them what we were going to do. And why 
were we obliged to do it ? Simply because we were so tied and bound by 
our distributors, or that they claimed we were bound to allow them to send 
salt to Calcutta at the same price for one ton as we agreed to give Brocklebank, 
who take 75,000 tons. In fairness to Messrs. Brocklebank we could not 
allow that that one man should come to us and get ten tons at the same 
price Messrs. Brocklebank get for their large contracts. What we said to 
our directors was, you may join together in a lump, and if you can altogether 
make up 75,000 tons it will put you on a level with Messrs. Brocklebank. 
And Messrs. Brocklebank never objected and never broke off the contract. . . 
I will ask Mr. McDowell to look at Clause 88 in the articles of association, 
that no director shall be disqualified by his office from contracting with the 
Company either as vendor, purchaser or otherwise, nor shall any such con- 
tract or arrangement or any contract or arrangement entered into by or on 
behalf of the Company with any company or partnership of or in which any 
director shall be a member or otherwise interested be voided, nor shall any 
director so contracting be liable to account to the Company for profits, &c. 
We are advised that we have a perfect right to make a contract with Mr. 
Turner that he should sell our salt at Calcutta if it suits us, or rather that his 
firm should do so, and that Mr. Turner has a perfect right to undertake to 
do that at any price he may think proper. I may say that Mr. Turner's firm 
has done our work very well and at very cheap prices. . . . Mr. McDowell 
has been very severe upon Mr. Fells, and implies that our American trade 
has fallen off on account of the iniquities of Mr. Fells. We know that one 
man cannot do so very much about the market, but I should like to read 
to you the opinion of Mr. McDowell, which he expressed in August, 1891 
it was when we met in Cannon Street. He said, " Our American market is 
interfered with very materially by the production of American salt. I may 
mention I have been in every State and every territory in the United States, 
and I was perfectly amazed to find the rate at which their salt production is 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 99 

growing. You have that to compete with, and nothing but cheap freights 
will enable you to send salt there. You have to look that in the face, and 
look for other markets elsewhere." And now, when according to his 
prophecy we have been losing the American market, he says it is on account 
of the wickedness of Mr. Fells, and not on account of the competition of the 
American market. Mr. McDowell, as a large shareholder, has a perfect right 
to criticise us and to give us good advice, but I do not think that in this 
matter he quite realizes how much he is warped by prejudice. Somebody 
mentioned to him just now that he was a vendor, but what I should like to 
point out to you as rather more important is and I think Mr. McDowell is 
rather apt to forget it that his son is a distributor. Of course that means 
that the Salt Union is bound to a certain extent to be in rivalry and com- 
petition with him. We cannot help it. Naturally our officials strive to make 
the best of their agencies, and naturally the distributors try to make the 
best of theirs, and in the course of this competition the people who are the 
head and front get abused, and Mr. Fells is in that our fighting man. He is 
the man we put forward to fight for us, and I do not blame him for being 
disliked by the distributors. It cannot be helped. I have never heard that 
it was considered a reflection on the Duke of Wellington that he was not 
popular with the French Army. Naturally he would not be, and it is the 
same with Mr. Fells. With the best intentions he has to stick up for the 
interests of the Salt Union, and I say honestly that the Board are determined 
to maintain him so long as they think he does his duty ; and I shall never be 
so pleased as when I hear that he is unpopular either with our opponents or 
our distributors. 

Mr. McDowell : Then you may look for reduced dividends all the time. 

The Chairman : I think the more unpopular he is with our opponents, it 
means the more we are getting the better of them, and so advancing our 
trade. You know we undertook to supply salt for that American gentleman, 
but at the same time we carefully gave him notice that, while we would do 
what we could to protect him, we would never promise we would never sell 
to anyone else. Shall I tell you why Mr. McDowell feels so strongly on the 
subject ? Here again it is his natural paternal partiality for his son's dis- 
tribution. This agent in America is young Mr. McDowell's friend, and gives 
him his business. We are determined to protect our distribution agencies, 
and not allow Mr. McDowell's agency to absorb the whole of the American 
trade, and therefore we held that we had a right, when we got an order from 
a gentleman in Savannah and another in Charlestown, to sell them some of 
the salt, and we gave these people out in America full notice that we could 
not prevent selling to other people. The only other thing I have to say is as 
regards the allotment of new debenture stock. You know an allotment pro 
fata would be a very expensive and troublesome thing, and I do not think 
so far as the smaller shareholders are concerned, that they would get so 
much out of it, because it is such a small amount that a man with 150 shares, 
or less than that, would probably get nothing at all, whereas we propose to 
allow the applications to be as low as for 10 of stock, so that any poor 



100 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

shareholder who wishes to apply may know that he can get 10 worth. That is a 
better plan, we think, than allotting pro rata, because by that very possibility a 
man with 150 shares would get nothing at all, whereas all the small share- 
holders know that they can make application and get it before anyone else. 

Mr. Griffiths : It may be satisfactory to have your assurance, sir, that 
good seamanship will weather the storms, but it seems to me that our 
Company is a land company, and that we are formed to develop trade, not 
to go to sea, and I think it would be better if we somewhat changed our 
policy. In your speech you also mentioned something about acquiring other 
businesses. Surely by this time our Company is sufficiently overweighted 
with the burden of capital, and it would be wise to make a profit of the busi- 
ness we have rather than to buy businesses which are speculative, and which, 
according to you, may have disastrous results. If the Indian business of the 
Union has been a failure, that strengthens our argument. We want more 
care as to the development of our business, we do not want so much specula- 
tion as to the acquisition of new business until we have made the very large 
business we already possess satisfactorily remunerative to those who have 
invested their money in it. I do not intend to criticise the project which 
has been brought forward to raise capital at this particular juncture, but it 
certainly does excite suspicion that if we were not to raise this additional 
capital we should not be able to pay this dividend. If so, all I can say is 
that will be able to account for the fact that our shares stand so low on the 
Stock Exchange. If we wish them to rise again I think we ought to refrain 
from these petty squabbles which rise up between particular shareholders 
and particular directors. The directors ought to devote themselves to the 
service of the Company : the shareholders ought as far as they can to 
support the directors. 

The Chairman : The next resolution is the resolution creating the 
mortgage debenture stock. I move, " That the directors be and are hereby 
authorised to create and issue not exceeding ^250,000 of B Mortgage Debenture 
Stock, bearing interest at the rate of four and a half per cent, per annum, 
payable ist January and ist July, and to be constituted and secured by a 
trust deed and debentures creating (i) a first charge upon the property 
purchased, or agreed to be purchased, by the Company after the 8th 
October, 1888, and (2) a second charge upon the undertaking and all other 
the property of the Company, ranking after the existing issue of ^1,000,000 
of four and a half per cent, first mortgage debenture stock, in such form as 
the directors think expedient." 

The Hon. Charles William Mills : I second that. 

The resolution was unanimously agreed to. 

The Chairman : The next motion refers to the directorate, and I propose 
" That Mr. Alfred Morrjson Turner be hereby re-elected a director of the 
Company." 

Mr. Pretty : May I have the pleasure of seconding that ? It has been 
my privilege on a former occasion, and I should like to have the honour to- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 101 

day. I think that Mr. Turner's high ability, his sterling character, his 
undoubted integrity, his social position, and the marked esteem in which 
he is held amongst the higher commercial circles of Liverpool, render him an 
extremely useful man on the Board. As one who has been connected with 
shipping in Calcutta, I would beg the shareholders not to run away with the 
idea that because we have had one unfortunate year others equally unfor- 
tunate must follow, so much depends on circumstances quite outside the price 
of salt. I think we have every reason to anticipate that with skilful manage- 
ment, and judging from the way the Union has grappled with the markets 
there, we shall shut out German competition and establish our position more 
firmly than it has ever been established before. 

The re-election of Mr. Alfred Morrison Turner was agreed to, with one 
dissentient. 

The Chairman : The next resolution is that Mr. Thomas Ward be hereby 
re-elected a director of the Company. I have great pleasure in moving that. 

Mr. Walter Robinson : I have great pleasure in seconding that resolution. 
Mr. Ward is so well-known to the people in Cheshire that I will only make 
one observation, and that is that " good wine needs no bush." 

The resolution was carried unanimously. 

Dr. McDougall : I beg to propose a vote of thanks to the chairman, 
directors and staff of the Salt Union for their able conduct of the business 
during the past year. I think we are very much indebted to you, sir, and to 
the Board of Directors generally for your management, and for steering the 
Salt Union in such troublous times. I must say that I think the remarks 
which have fallen from Mr. McDowell were most uncalled-for, and I do not 
think when he criticizes the conduct of the directors so severely that his 
former position in the salt trade can be known to the shareholders, or the 
position that his son now holds. The directors have had very difficult times 
to contend with. I hold a very large interest in the Salt Union, not so much 
as Mr. McDowell, but at the same time I think I am entitled to say something 
on behalf of the Board with regard to a district I know so well. I think it 
was grossly unfair on the part of Mr. McDowell to attack the general manager. 
Mr. McDowell knows only too well that Mr. Fells' lips are sealed, and I am 
not going to add one word to what the chairman has so well said on behalf 
of Mr. Fells. ... I think we are very much indebted to the chairman and 
directors for the course they have taken, and I have very great pleasure in 
moving that a cordial vote of thanks be given to the chairman, the Board 
of Directors, and the staff for their part in the work of the year. 



102 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

ISSUE OF ^2OO,OOO OF 4^ PER CENT. " B " MORTGAGE DEBENTURE STOCK, IN 
SUMS OF lO AND UPWARDS. 

MESSRS. GLYN, MILLS, CURRIE & Co., Bankers, Lombard Street, London, E.G., 
will receive Applications up to 2-jth March instant, for the undermentioned 
Issue of 200,000 of 4$ per cent. " B " Mortgage Debenture Stock of the 
Salt Union, Limited, at ^104 per ^100 of Stock, payable as follows : 

10 per cent, on Application. 

34 ,, on Allotment (including the Premium). 

30 ,, one month after Allotment. 

30 ,, two months after Allotment. 

104 

The Interest will be payable half-yearly, on the ist January and ist July, 
the first proportionate payment becoming due on the ist July next. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS. 

The Hon. A. LIONEL G. ASHLEY, Audley Mansions, W. (Chairman}. 

EDWARD SABINE BARING-GOULD, Esq., Guildford, Surrey. 

HERMAN JOHN FALK, Esq., West Kirby, Cheshire. 

The Hon. CHARLES W. MILLS, Lombard Street, E.G. 

WALTER ROBINSON, Esq., Gledhow Gardens, South Kensington. 

ALFRED M. TURNER, Esq., Liverpool. 

THOMAS WARD, Esq., Northwich, Cheshire. 

The Stock is part of an authorised Issue of ^250,000, consequent upon 
the purchases agreed to be made after October 8th, 1888, of additional Salt 
Works, Lands, Properties, Trade Marks, and Salt Distribution Businesses, 
and for the purpose of replacing and providing further Working Capital for 
the Business of the Company. 

;i, 000,000 of 4^ per cent. First Mortgage Debenture Stock, issued with 
the Share Capital on the Incorporation of the Company in October, 1888, 
and fully paid up, is secured by Debentures constituting a First Charge upon 
the undertaking of the Company, including, subject to conditions endorsed 
thereon, property to be thereafter acquired. One of the endorsed conditions 
is as follows : "In case the Company shall at any time acquire any 
property by purchase (not being property already agreed to be purchased 
on the 8th October, 1888, nor moveable chattels purchased otherwise than 
in connection with the purchase of a business), the Company may, notwith- 
standing the charge created by this Debenture, raise any sum not exceeding 
the purchase money (with interest at any rate), as a First Charge upon the 
property so purchased, in priority to this Debenture." 

As appears from the Auditors' Certificate below set forth, the properties 
purchased since 8th October, 1888, (other than in connection with Distribution 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 103 

Businesses), and still held, have cost the Company 223,984 us. /d. 
Accordingly the 250,000 " B " Debenture Stock will be secured as a First 
Charge on these properties, and will, in addition, be secured as a Charge 
upon the undertaking of the Company, ranking next after the First Debenture 
Stock for 1,000,000. 

AUDITORS' CERTIFICATE. 

" We have examined the books of the Salt Union, Limited, and 
referred to various documents, and it appears therefrom that certain 
Freehold and Leasehold Properties, Chattels, Patents and Goodwill 
acquired therewith agreed to be purchased after the 8th October, 1888, 
and shown to be still held by the Company, have cost the Company 
223,984 i is. jd. This amount is exclusive of the cost of the acquisition 
of Distribution Agencies. 

COOPER BROTHERS & Co., London, ) 

. ', Auditors. 
HARMOOD BANNER & SON, Liverpool, j 

2Oth March, 1895. 

The security is to be effected by Debentures and Trust Deed. The 
Trustees will be the Hon. Anthony Lionel George Ashley, Chairman, and the 
Hon. Charles William Mills, Banker, Lombard Street, E.G., Director of the 
Company. 

The " B " Mortgage Debenture Stock will be issued and transferable in 
sums of not less than 10 each (corresponding with the transferable amounts 
of the existing Stock), and will be redeemable at the option of the Company 
at the rate of 105 per 100 on, or at any time after, the 3Oth day of June, 
1902, upon the Company giving to the registered holders for the time being 
six months' previous notice in writing of their intention to redeem the same ; 
but the Company may redeem the Stock earlier by purchase in the market 
or privately. 

In allotting the " B " Debenture Stock the Directors will have regard to 
the following priorities of claim to allotment : (a) The existing Ordinary and 
Preference Shareholders ; (b) the existing Debenture Stock holders ; and (c) 
the Public. 

An application will be made to the Stock Exchange for a quotation of 
the Stock in due course. 

A form of application for the Stock accompanies this circular. 

The Drafts of the proposed Trust Deed and Debentures, and of the 
intended Stock Certificate, may be inspected at the Office of Messrs. Ashurst, 
Morris, Crisp & Co., Solicitors, 17, Throgmorton Avenue, London, E.G. 

HEAD OFFICE, 

16, EASTCHEAP, LONDON, E.G. 
2Oth March, 1895. 



104 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

REPORT FOR 1895. 

Seventh Annual Report of the Directors for the year ended $ist December, 1895, 
to be presented at the Seventh Ordinary General Meeting at Winchester 
House, Old Broad Street, London, on the 2jth day of February, 1896. 

UNION SALT TRADE IN 1895. The gross tonnage of salt delivered by the 
Union in 1895 was 1,217,000 tons. 

The depression of 1894 in the large industries in which salt is used for 
manufacturing purposes was continued through the greater portion of 1895, 
whereby their demand for salt was considerably reduced. 

Coincident with the decrease in general ship tonnage cleared from the 
salt ports of the country, there has been a decrease also in the shipments of 
salt. 

LITIGATION. The action commenced by Mr. J. Buckley Deakin, a vendor 
to the Company, for breaches of agreement with him as a salt distributor, 
came before the House of Lords in March last. Their Lordships decided 
one of the questions in favour of the Company, but felt compelled to decide 
that in the other a breach of the agreement had been committed. This was 
remitted to the Official Referee for further consideration, and nominal 
damages of one shilling were awarded Mr. Deakin. Against this decision 
Mr. Deakin has entered Notice of Appeal in the Courts. The matter being 
still sub judice, your directors are not able to deal with the merits of the case. 

DURHAM DISTRICT. During the year a sum of ^14,697 123. 7d. has been 
spent in the development of your works in this district, including the pro- 
vision of loading stages and other shipping facilities. These extensions 
have, despite the general decrease in the salt trade in the Durham District, 
enabled the Union to increase its own trade there as compared with that 
of previous years. 

PARLIAMENTARY. The Bill promoted by the Union, in conjunction with 
Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co., Limited, for altering the constitution of the 
River Weaver Navigation Trust, came before a Committee of the House of 
Commons in 1895. After hearing evidence the Committee decided to incor- 
porate the Bill promoted by the Weaver Trustees with that of the Union, 
and the other traders on the Navigation. The Bill, so amended, received 
the Royal Assent on July 6th, 1895. Under this Act the Union, which is the 
largest toll-payer on the Navigation, has now some representation on the 
Trust. 

BRINE PUMPING (COMPENSATION FOR SUBSIDENCE) ACT, 1891. In con- 
junction with the District Council and other property owners and brine 
pumpers at Winsford and elsewhere, your directors opposed the Provisional 
Order Confirmation Bill of 1895, by which Northwich, Winsford, Middlewich 
and Sandbach would have been joined in one area under one Compensation 
Board. After an enquiry lasting nine days, a Committee of the House of 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 105 

Commons amended the Confirmation Bill, and drew a separate district for 
Northwich. The Bill, as amended, will shortly come before a Committee of 
the House of Lords. 

" B " 4^ PER CENT. MORTGAGE DEBENTURE STOCK. Your directors have 
pleasure in stating that the issue in March, 1895, of ^200,000 of " B " Stock 
(part of the ^250,000 authorised at the last General Meeting) was duly sub- 
scribed and allotted. The premium received thereon, after deducting the 
expenses of issue, left a balance of ^3,286 i8s. nd., which has been applied 
in reduction of the sum paid for the acquisition of distribution businesses 
and of covenants with vendors. 

BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of ^15,587 133. 4d., expended 
on new works, has been charged to the general capital account. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for salt, brine, carriage, and 
sundry trading was 276,384 143. nd., and from other 
sources, ^37,823 i8s. i id., making the total amount .. ^314,208 13 10 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, 
distributors' discounts, agency, and other charges set 
forth in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all 
sources amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. ^162,154 14 o 

Add the amount brought forward .. .. .. 10,158 17 n 



^172,313 ii ii 

From this sum deduct the Debenture Stock interest 
paid on ist July, 1895, and ist, January, 1896 .. .. 51,075 o o 



Leaving .. 121,238 ii ii 

Your directors recommend that Dividends for the year 
ended 3 ist December last be declared at the rate of 7 per 
cent, on the Preference Shares, which will require . . . . 70,000 o o 

And at the rate of 2 per cent, for the year on the 
Ordinary Shares, which will absorb . . . . . . . . 40,000 o o 

And that there be carried forward .. .. .. 11,238 ii ii 



121,238 ii ii 
By Order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 
16, EASTCHEAP, 

LONDON, E.G., 

1 9th February, 1896. 



106 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



SEVENTH ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

The Seventh Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders in the Salt 
Union, Limited, was held at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, 
on February 27th, 1896. The Hon. Lionel Ashley, Chairman of the Union, 
presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH. 

The Chairman said : Ladies and gentlemen, I regret I have once more 
to come before you with a report of the year's working which is disappointing. 
You will recollect at our last meeting I pointed out that the unsatisfactory 
results were largely owing to a simultaneous depression both in the Indian 
business and in the chemical business, two of the principal branches of our 
trade, and I thought we had a right to expect that the depression in both 
these branches was not likely to continue. Unfortunately, my forecast was 
wrong. We have had to contend during the whole year against depressed 
trade and low prices both in Indian and chemical salt, and we see the result 
in our diminished profits. You will observe from the report that the salt 
tonnage in 1895 amounted to 1,217,000 tons, against 1,284,000 in 1894, and 
1,240,000 tons in 1893. If we take the Board of Trade returns of exports we 
see that the quantity of salt exported from this country in 1895 was 741,000 
tons, against 759,000 tons in 1894. Some part, therefore, of this decrease in 
our tonnage in 1895 is due to a general decrease in the salt exports of the 
country ; the remainder of the decrease is due to a depression in the chemical 
trade, and the consequent smaller quantity of salt taken by chemical manu- 
facturers. There are also several causes operating to our disadvantage in 
this industry which I will refer to later on. Of the salt ports in this country, 
Liverpool is the only port showing an increase in 1895 compared with 1894. 
This increased salt export from Liverpool is, we think, satisfactory, because 
it compares with the general decrease of ship tonnage out of Liverpool. The 
increase in the salt shipments has been 2-29 per cent., while the decrease in 
ship tonnage out of Liverpool, in 1895, compared with 1894, has been 3-2 per 
cent. With regard to the Middlesbrough district, although there has been a 
great decrease in salt exports in 1895, as compared with 1894, it is satisfactory 
to report that the shipments of salt made by the Union have increased. The 
trade with the United States, though much less in quantity than ten or 
twelve years ago, shows some improvement. 

FOREIGN MARKETS. 

To northern Europe, in spite of severe competition with German manufac- 
turers, we have, owing to the special attention which we have given to this 
branch, maintained and increased our trade, and it is our hope that this in- 
creased business (due, we believe, to the superior quality of our products) will 
be maintained and improved. In Belgium we have made satisfactory progress 
during the year. To British North America a somewhat smaller quantity 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 107 

has been sent. The West Indies and Central South America show signs of 
revival. Our business in South America will, we hope, increase, as we have 
during the past few months made tentative arrangements for the promotion 
of our interests with a gentleman who travels in that part of the American 
continent as the representative of two or three well-known commercial 
houses. To Africa there has, unfortunately, been a decrease in tonnage. 
Africa should naturally be an expanding market, but the fiscal regulations in 
many parts of that continent prevent that expansion in trade which might 
be looked for. To Australia also shipments show considerable decrease. We 
consider, however, that this decrease is temporary, and is due to special 
causes. The freight market to that continent has been disturbed by various 
causes, and it has been difficult to get ships for Australia that would carry 
so low priced an article as salt. We have noticed, however, in that market 
that good years succeed bad years, so I trust that the bad year 1895 may 
be followed by a good year in 1896. In India we have been still feeling the 
effects of the coal strike in 1893. The coal strike paralysed trade generally, 
and the salt trade in particular, and resulted in diminished shipments. This 
diminution led to a great increase in the price of salt in Calcutta, so that in 
1894 large quantities were shipped from England to adjust the supply ; but 
the high prices in Calcutta in 1893 had caused large quantities of salt to be 
sent there from all salt producing countries, and therefore the markets were 
over-stocked and full of inferior salt, both native and foreign, and low prices 
were obtained. The prices in 1895 ruled so low that shippers have abstained 
from sending the usual quantity of Liverpool salt to Calcutta. We may 
hope, however, that the diminution of stock in Calcutta will cause increased 
shipments of salt this year, and that the ordinary laws of supply and demand 
will again operate, and that fairly remunerative prices may be obtained. 
The Calcutta market has been further disorganized, both as to prices and 
quantities, by the new conditions introduced, owing to the displacement of 
sailing ships by steamers. To Burmah increased shipments have been made 
during the year. It has been mentioned at previous meetings that we were 
keeping in view the possibility of extending our markets in the Far East. 
Last year we sent a special commissioner with letters of introduction to 
representatives of official and commercial classes in China, Japan and 
adjacent countries, taking British Columbia on his way, with the object of 
developing our trade in the East. We have received various interesting com- 
munications from him, and we hope in the course of a few weeks, on his 
return, to have the benefit of his advice as to further action. The expenses 
of this mission, as well as other expenses incurred in obtaining information 
and developing trade, have all been charged to the year just closed. 

THE INLAND TRADE. 

Our inland trade has been maintained as regards salt for domestic purposes. 
The prolonged frost of the early part of the year 1895 restricted the demand 
for agricultural purposes ; but if the winter continues to be as mild as it has 



108 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

been up to the present (until the last one or two days), there will be a demand 
from agriculturists for what is really the cheapest and best fertiliser. The 
chief decrease in our trade during the year has been in the supply of salt 
for manufacturing purposes, and particularly for use in chemical works. In 
the chemical world, as many of you know, the main object is to obtain the 
greatest possible product from the decomposition of the smallest quantity 
of salt. This problem has occupied the attention both of men of science and 
of manufacturers with considerable results. Our trade has suffered con- 
sequently, not only from the decreased demand for chemicals, but from 
improved processes and new processes in which either less salt is used or in 
which the manufacture is direct from the brine. These disadvantages have 
been further aggravated by the policy adopted by the Alkali Union, who 
have entered into strong competition with us as dealers in salt. We thus 
find that whilst the demand for our salt for chemical purposes has sunk from 
600,000 tons in 1890 to 275,000 tons in 1895 that is a decrease of 325,000 
tons we also have the Alkali Union competing for salt contracts and for 
orders in the open market. We have always been of opinion that the Alkali 
Union should confine itself to the chemical trade and the Salt Union to the 
salt trade, and with this object we have been ready to make contracts with 
the Alkali Union at what we considered most moderate rates. We regret 
that this view has not been shared by the Alkali Union, and it appears to us 
that we must in self-defence utilize all our resources. We cannot sit still 
while our markets are taken from us, and it may be necessary to carry the war 
into the enemy's country. We have abundance of brine in this country, and 
instead of manufacturing salt at low prices for use in chemical works, it will 
be better for us to use our own salt for the manufacture of the higher priced 
chemicals. We could start in the chemical branch of the trade with the 
newest and most improved plant, and we should be free from the burden of 
any old-fashioned and disused chemical works, and should thus be able to 
hold our own even in depressed markets. Moreover, whilst chemicals were 
being sold at less than the cost of production during the great competition 
between the large chemical firms there was nothing to encourage us to enter 
into their manufacture, but now there has been a combination of the great 
chemical producing firms, by which prices are to be maintained on a remunera- 
tive level, we have still better prospects of success. 

LITIGATION AND FINANCE. 

We have during the year been more free from litigation, the only drawback 
being the action of Mr. Buckley Deakin, which is referred to in the report. 
I may point out to you that in this suit we are merely defending, and 
not attacking the interests of others. The expenditure has been forced upon 
us, and is not of our own choosing. The expenditure on new works during the 
year amounted to 15,587 133. 4d. This is mainly due to the development 
of our properties in Durham, at Port Clarence works. The effect of this 
expenditure in increasing our trade in that district I have already alluded 
to, and we consider that we now have in our Durham district some of the best 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 109 

shipping facilities for salt that exist in the country. The amount appearing 
in the balance sheet for the acquisition of distribution agencies shows an 
increase in consequence of some further payments becoming due during the 
year ; but our liability under this head is now much diminished. There is 
an increase in the amount appearing as " fully -paid shares in other salt 
trading companies." Our purchase of Corbett's distribution business in- 
cluded the business he carried on in London, and we are now carrying it on 
under its old name, but converted it for convenience into a limited company. 
Our stocks of fuel and material have been taken at cost price. During the 
year we have increased our investments and we have thought it prudent to 
buy some of our own " B " 4^ per cent, debenture stock. Our .craft and 
rolling stock appear at about the same figure as in the balance sheet for 
1894, but we have during the seven years written off ^16,250 in depreciation. 
During the same period we have spent 87,000 in improving and repairing 
the craft, and have spent i 17,200 in waggon and van repair, so that on these 
two assets, which originally appeared in our first balance sheet at ^325,000, 
we have spent in seven years ^204,200 out of revenue, or 62 per cent, of the 
original cost. The amount that appears in the balance sheet " Accounts to 
be received from abroad," is chiefly in connection with the depot system 
which we are now testing in India. As you probably know, Bengal is the 
only Presidency in the whole of India, Burmah excluded, in which English 
salt has any foothold. In the Bombay Presidency, in the whole of Northern 
India, in Madras, and in all Southern India the native consumers are content 
with inferior salt, sun-evaporated, either from the lakes or the sea-board. 
Not a ton of English salt is imported into the whole of these vast territories. 
. . . We are working at these depots tentatively and gradually, and we have 
every reason to hope that the results will be to maintain and even increase 
our trade. Our cash position you will see has very considerably improved. 
The cash at the bankers on current and deposit accounts and in hand amounted 
to ^153,938, as against 41,827 in 1894. This is of course largely due to the 
fact that by the issue of the " B " debenture stock we were able to put our 
financial position more in order and to repay to our working capital some 
of the amount that had been spent for the acquisition of further properties 
and businesses, as has been reported from time to time. It will be seen in 
reference to the profit and loss account that the total sum standing to credit 
is only 5,000 less than the amount in 1894. We have had to contend with 
low prices both at home and abroad, but our profit in that direction has 
been well maintained, and we have considerably increased our operations 
as river and canal carriers. The various important questions which have 
arisen as to railway sidings, and as to wastages, and as to the rates under the 
Railway and Canal Act of 1892, are still being considered by the railway 
companies and ourselves in a friendly manner. We had, of course, to protect 
our legal position by lodging complaints with the Board of Trade and by taking 
action in the Railway and Canal Commission Court ; but we trust that the 
negotiations we have in hand will result in an amicable settlement, without 
our having to trouble the Board of Trade or the Railway Commission Court. 



no A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

On the debit side of the profit and loss account you will see we have during 
the year spent no less than 47,997 in maintenance of plant. The pro- 
ductive power of our plant has been fully maintained during the last seven 
years. This we consider due to the fact that we have very considerably 
improved the working plant of the Company ? We have during seven years 
spent ^379,000 in maintaining and improving our plant and works. You will 
thus see that it is not true, as has been alleged, that our plant has been much 
neglected in former years ; and we deny, on the other hand, that our 
expenditure on plant is too large, and we look upon money so spent as the 
best form of provision against depreciation. The administration expenses 
show an increase compared with the previous year. As before stated, this 
amount is charged with all the expenses incurred for development of trade, 
such as advertising, exhibiting, and special missions abroad. In addition, 
this account includes some of the expense of managing our large distributing 
businesses. In 1890, when the Union had no share of distribution in the 
Cheshire and Worcestershire districts, the amount charged for administration 
was ^3 1 ,303 , that is only i ,400 less than the amount charged in 1 895 . Several 
of the other items, such as rents and royalties, have been, and must in the 
nature of things be, fairly constant ; but I regret to say the amount charged 
to us for rates and taxes has this year exceeded the charge of any previous 
year. I have before pointed out how we suffer from the modern political 
doctrine that taxation and representation do not go together. During the 
last seven years we have paid, apart from income tax on dividends, rates 
and taxes, an amount of ^47,366. The law and parliamentary expenses 
show unfortunately an increase compared with 1894. A portion of the 
expenses of the Deakin suit has had to be borne in the year 1895. 

THE PROVISIONAL ORDER BILL. 

We also had during the year to share the cost of an inquiry by a Par- 
liamentary Committee into a Provisional Order Bill which the Local Govern- 
ment Board introduced. In this Bill the whole of the important salt district 
of Cheshire was combined in one compensation area. We had to appear 
once more before the Committee in order to demonstrate that we ought not 
to be made to pay for damage done by other brine pumpers. Our efforts 
were to a large extent successful. At all events, we convinced the Com- 
mittee that our large brine pumping in Winsford could not do any damage 
in Northwich. The Bill was amended by the Committee, and will shortly 
come before the House of Lords, and we are carefully considering what 
amendments we should suggest to a Committee of that House. You will 
see in the report that, in conjunction with Brunner, Mond & Co., we intro- 
duced a Bill into Parliament for the re-constitution of the Weaver Trust. 
A Bill in which ours was incorporated became law. Our expenses were charged 
by the Committee on the Weaver Trust funds, and I am glad to say that we 
have at last some representation on the trust of that important navigation. 
The two directors who offer themselves for re-election are Mr. Herman John 
Falk and Mr. Walter Robinson. The Board would be glad to take this- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. in 

opportunity of expressing their appreciation of the services rendered by 
those gentlemen. They have the interest of the Union at heart, and their 
assistance has been most valuable. I may also express our sense of the 
obligation we are under to Mr. Fells, our general manager, Mr. Wickes, our 
secretary, and the rest of our staff for their zealous and able support. Now, 
ladies and gentlemen, I have finished my review of the year's working. . . . 
We shall continue to give attention to new markets, branches of trade, and 
various methods of cheapening production, and we hope by utilizing to a 
greater extent our works nearest to Liverpool to save some portion of the 
heavy tolls charged on the Weaver traffic. We also hope that fuel will be 
cheap. Generally, you may rest assured that no efforts on our part will be 
wanting to make the year 1896 better than the year 1895. I have now to 
move, " That the report of the directors for the year ending 3ist December, 
1895, and the statement of accounts and balance sheet now submitted be 
received and adopted." 

THE QUESTION OF LAW COSTS. 

Mr. H. O. Evans : I should like to ask how we are getting into all this 
litigation and law costs. 

The Chairman : I may point out to you, without losing any time, that 
every law suit we have been engaged in has been brought against us, except 
Mr. Corbett's, so that we have had no option but to defend ourselves. It is 
not actions we have brought against other people, but actions brought against 
us, and therefore, we were bound, in the interests of the shareholders, to 
defend ourselves. 

Mr. H. O. Evans : My point is how do we get into all these litigations ? 

The Chairman : Because there were so many cantankerous people who 
wanted to get the best of us. The original covenants with vendors have 
been the most prolific source of dispute, and, I suppose, never were covenants 
so ingeniously framed as to cause law suits. 

Mr. Kettle : In the assets appears the item, " Fully paid shares in other 
salt trading companies." Is this amount at par value, or market value, aad 
what percentage on an average do we get from this investment ? 

The Chairman : I may say at once they are par value. Many of them 
are not quoted on the Stock Exchange, and therefore there is no question 
of a market price ; but I think all these subsidiary companies, which are 
really distributing companies or manufacturing companies, have shown 
satisfactory returns. Anyhow, they were things that were bought one 
particularly, the Droitwich Salt Company, was bought by the promoters 
bought in the lump. It is not a purchase. The Marston Hall, I think, we 
did buy ; the others were bought by the promoters and lumped up in the 
original sum given for all the properties. We have kept on the form of a 
limited company, because on account of certain leases it was more convenient 
that the Company should not be extinguished. But to all practical purposes 



112 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

they are the Salt Union ; no one has shares in them except ourselves. We 
hold all the shares. 

Mr. Giles : Last year we heard that the action against Mr. Corbett had 
been successful, and that we were now distributing the salt in the Worcester- 
shire district. I want to know whether the result of that has been any loss 
of trade in regard to the home trade of the Salt Union ; whether, in other 
words, Mr. Corbett has been able to establish a trade of his own to the 
detriment of the Salt Union ? 

The Chairman : He is not allowed to : he is bound not to trade. 

THE REDUCTION OF EXPENSES. 

Dr. McDougall : Would you mind telling us how many, who are wholly 
in the employ of the Salt Union, have been elected on the Weaver Trust, 
and how much of their time is taken up with trust work, and whether any 
of the expenses are paid by this Company ? You say that the covenants 
from vendors to this Company were very ingeniously framed. Would you 
mind telling us who framed those covenants, and who reviewed them after- 
wards, and whether the covenants were reviewed before the prospectus of 
the Company was issued ? Will you tell us also whether you have come to 
any terms of agreement with the Castner-Kellner Company at Weston Point ? 
It may be some encouragement to some shareholders who are not familiar 
with that part of the world to know something about it. Will you also tell 
us whether you yourselves propose to take steps to establish chemical works 
on that very excellent site ? There is one point that is disturbing a good 
many people, and that is, that the expenditure of the Company is so very 
much out of proportion to revenue, and I should like to ask whether there will 
be any effort on the part of the directors to apply the pruning knife, as other 
large companies are doing at the present time in all directions, in order that 
this may be brought down to what financial people consider reasonable 
expenses in connection with the working of a company. 

The Chairman : With regard to Dr. McDougall' s question, I may say 
that there are six trustees of the Weaver solely employed by the Union, but 
their expenses are paid out of the Weaver funds. As to the Castner-Kellner 
Company, we have arranged with that company. As regards chemicals, if 
we go into that we have plan and estimates before us, and I think we shall 
probably avail ourselves of Weston Point. With reference to what Dr. 
McDougall says about the reduction of expenses, I cordially agree with him 
in advocating every possible economy, and I think you may rest assured that 
that will be our aim in every way. Of course you recollect that an enormous 
concern like this necessarily requires a big staff, and that if it is not properly 
served you may lose more than you gain by cutting down a certain number 
of salaries. This is an enormous business, and the number of works, the 
number of offices, and the number of branches necessarily require a large 
staff. If the trade was good the question of the reduction of the expenses 
would not be so serious. I agree that in regard to these items every possible 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 113 

economy ought to be enforced, and I think we may say that at this moment 
we are making salt more cheaply than it has ever been made before, and our 
aim will be, as it has been in the past, to effect every economy in order to 
cut our coat according to our cloth, and try to make things better. 

The resolution was then put and unanimously adopted. 

The Chairman : The response which the shareholders have given us as 
regards our plan for going into chemicals will give us fresh courage to 
persevere. We shall not go into it without thought and in a hurry, but the 
more we consider it the more we think it necessary, and we shall have the 
greater courage in going into it when we feel that we are supported by a 
majority of the shareholders. 



114 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



REPORT FOR 1896. 

Eighth Annual Report of the Directors for the year ended 3 ist December, 1896, 
to be presented at the Eighth Ordinary General Meeting at Winchester House, 
Old Broad Street, London, on the 26th day of February, 1897. 

UNION SALT TRADE IN 1896. The aggregate tonnage delivered by the 
Union in 1896 was 1,066,600 tons. During the year there has been a further 
decrease in the quantity of salt required for the manufacture of chemicals. 
There has also been a considerable reduction in the export trade, owing to 
an abnormal demand for freight room in ocean-going vessels for com- 
modities which could bear higher freights than salt. This has been specially 
the case with India, considerable quantities of railway material having been 
shipped to Indian Ports for the development of railways. 

PARLIAMENTARY. 

(a) Compensation for Subsidence. The new Provisional Order made 
by the Local Government Board, under the Act of 1891, as amended 
by a Committee of the House of Commons, was confirmed by Parliament 
in 1896. A Compensation Board has now been formed of nine 
members, three of whom have been elected by the Brine Pumpers, three 
by the Northwich Urban and Rural Councils, and three by the Cheshire 
County Council. The maximum rate leviable is threepence per 
thousand gallons of brine pumped annually within the Northwich com- 
pensation area. 

(b) River Weaver Navigation Bill, 1896. It was deemed necessary 
for the protection of your interests, as the largest traders on this 
navigation, to oppose some of the financial and other provisions of 
this Bill. Certain modifications therein were obtained, with a clause for 
settling an outstanding claim to compensation in respect of your 
Newbridge Salt Works simultaneously with the execution of the works 
authorised by the Weaver Act of 1893 for improving the navigation 
between Winsford and Northwich. 

(c) Manchester Ship Canal Bill, 1896. Under this Bill power was 
sought to close certain Tidal Openings in the Canal, thus prejudicing 
the rights secured by the Act of 1885 to the salt trade coming down 
the Weaver, and imposing a permanent burden on the Union without 

compensation. In these circumstances your directors endeavoured to 
negotiate for a clause safeguarding your interests, but without success, 
and as the Committee of the House of Commons rejected the clause 
proposed by the Union, the Bill was further opposed in the House of 
Lords and eventually the protective clause was obtained. 

DEAKIN v. SALT UNION. The action which was begun in 1891 by Mr. 
J. Buckley Deakin, a vendor to the Company, for alleged breaches of 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 115 

agreement with him as a salt distributor, has, during the last year, again 
been before the courts. The Court of Appeal has confirmed upon all points 
the finding of the Official Referee, who, as previously reported, awarded 
Mr. Deakin nominal damages of i /- The Court of Appeal also ordered Mr. 
Deakin to pay the Union's costs in connection with the assessment of 
damages. Mr. Deakin has appealed to the House of Lords against this 
decision. 

UTILIZATION OF PLANT AND BUILDINGS. By reason of the continued 
depression of the salt industry, some of the plant, buildings, machinery, 
rolling stock, and craft have been otherwise utilized, with the object of afford- 
ing additional sources of profit to the Union. 

BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of 10,971 IDS. iod., expended 
on new works, has been charged to the general capital account. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for salt, brine, carriage, and 
sundry trading was 256,343 8s. iod., and from other 
sources, 39,534 i6s. gd., making the total amount .. 295,868 5 7 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, dis- 
tributors' discounts, agency, and other charges set forth 
in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all sources 
amount to .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 145,292 12 5 

Add the amount brought forward .. .. .. 11,238 u 11 



156,531 4 4 

Deduct the Debenture Stock interest paid on ist July, 
1896, and i st January, 1897 .. .. .. .. .. 54,000 o o 



Leaving .. 102,531 4 4 

Your directors recommend that dividends for the year 
ended 3ist December last be declared at the rate of 7 per 

cent, on the Preference Shares, which will require. . . . 70,000 o o 

And at the rate of i per cent, for the year on the 

Ordinary Shares, which will absorb . . . . . . . . 20,000 o o 

And that there be carried forward .. .. .. 12, 531 4 4 



102,531 4 4 
By Order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 
1 6, EASTCHEAP, 

LONDON, E.G., 

i 8th February, 1897. 



n6 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



EIGHTH ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

The Eighth Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders in the Salt 
Union, Limited, was held at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, 
on February 26th. The Hon. Lionel Ashley, Chairman of the Board of 
Directors, presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman : I regret that the report we have to lay before you of this 
eighth year of the Company's working is again of an unsatisfactory character, 
both as regards tonnage sold and the general average of prices. Taking the 
salt trade of the country during the past two years, those who have watched 
the monthly figures issued by the Board of Trade will not be surprised to 
learn that the tonnage of salt exported shows a decrease of 80,000 tons in 
1896 as compared with 1895. To the United States there has been a 
decreased export of 36,000 tons owing, doubtless, to political uncertainties. 
There was, however, an increase in 1895 ; and the figures for 1896, though 
less than 1895, are 16,000 tons more than those for 1894. To Africa there 
has also been a decreased export. The fiscal relations which prevail in certain 
parts of that continent continue to prevent expansion in trade. You will 
recollect that last year I expressed the hope that the shipments to Australia, 
which showed a considerable decrease in 1895, would improve in 1896 ; and 
to some extent this has been the case, as they have increased by 2,000 tons. 
This improvement would, no doubt, have been greater if there had not 
been special freight difficulties, which I will mention later on. Germany, 
Russia, Finland, and Belgium show decreases during the year. In these 
districts, and particularly in Belgium, German competition is very severe. 
In Germany, as I daresay you know, there are many excellent 

INLAND WATERWAYS 

which give easy and cheap access for German salt products to neighbouring 
countries. The tolls on these inland waterways are much less than in 
England ; and the aim of the State is to make the waterways, like highways, 
free of access and free of toll. The cost of maintenance of these waterways 
is made more a charge on the locality than on the manufacturers who use 
them. This is a very different policy from that which regulates the canals 
in Cheshire, where it is the manufacturer who maintains not only the canals 
but maintains the locality. For the first time for several years salt 

SHIPMENTS FROM LIVERPOOL 

have not followed the increase or decrease of ship tonnage out of Liverpool. 
There was a decided improvement this year in many industries, and increased 
demand from abroad for commodities. The salt trade is, as you are aware, a 
ballast trade, and the rate of freight that can be paid on salt is necessarily 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 117 

smaller than that on commodities of greater value. The effect of this in- 
creased demand for valuable commodities has been to increase the demand 
for freight-room ; and this combined with what the President of the Chamber 
of Shipping has aptly termed " misplacement of tonnage " has caused an 
increase in the rates of freight. Vessels that could obtain better rates for 
other goods have naturally not carried salt. Some vessels have returned to 
this country to meet the demand for freight, and rates have, in consequence, 
somewhat diminished. We shall doubtless reap the benefit of this during 
the current year. In fact, the tonnage chartered from the beginning of this 
year for our Indian market is already in excess of the tonnage chartered in a 
similar period during the last two or three years. The difficulty of obtaining 
tonnage for our Indian trade has been further increased by the shipment of 
a large quantity of railway material to India during the year. But although 
the quantity of salt sent in 1896 has been less by 46,000 tons, the prices 
realized have been much more remunerative. We must expect that these 
prices will not be maintained, as we hope to be able to ship increased tonnage, 
but we may anticipate that the decrease in the price will be made up by the 
larger quantity sold. W T e have made further progress with the establishment 
of 

DISTRIBUTING DEPOTS 

in various Indian districts, thus bringing English salt to the customers' doors, 
and preventing the adulteration of our product with inferior salts. These 
inferior salts have, as we have mentioned before, made considerable progress 
in India ; but we hope by establishing these depots to retain and increase 
our hold of the market. I may mention in this connection that as our interests 
in India are so extensive we have thought it only fitting to subscribe in 
Calcutta, in the name of the Company, 2,000 rupees (about ^125) to the 
Indian Famine Fund. 

AMERICAN AND OTHER MARKETS. 

Amidst this general decrease, due mainly to scarcity and dearness of 
freight, we can record a slight increase in British North American trade. 
Some 2,500 tons in excess of the quantity exported in 1895 were shipped there 
in 1896. I mentioned last year that the West Indies and South America 
showed signs of revival, and that we had arranged to send a traveller to 
represent our interests. There has been during the year an increase in 
these exports, which is encouraging. The trade to Sweden and Norway is 
stationary ; but the shipments to Denmark have increased. We hope that 
the development there of the dairy industry will cause an increased demand 
for our special brands of salt, which are unequalled for dairy purposes. 
There was also a small increase in the trade to Iceland and the Faroe Islands. 
We have carefully kept in view the possible extension of our markets in the 
Far East. In Japan we hope that the progressive habits of the people, 
and their desire to have the purest and best products, will increase our trade, 
but it will be the work of time. In China the vested interests of those 



118 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

engaged in the salt trade are exceedingly difficult to overcome. You will 
recollect that I told you last year that we had sent 

A SPECIAL COMMISSIONER 

to China as well as to India, Japan and British Columbia, with the object 
of developing our trade. We have endeavoured to show to the authorities 
in China that the revenue of that country might be improved and the salt 
tax more easily collected by the admission of salt at a reasonable rate of 
duty. We have not yet succeeded in obtaining a change of policy, but we 
keep on in the endeavour to convert those who ultimately control these 
matters. Our 

DOMESTIC INLAND TRADE 

has, during the year, been not only well maintained, but has shown some 
improvement, though the prices have been low. But there has been still 
further diminution in the quantity of salt required for the manufacture of 
chemicals. As we have pointed out in previous years, the decrease is caused 
not only by the depressed condition of the chemical industry, but also by 
economies practised in the manufacture of chemicals, by which the quantity 
of salt required for each ton of chemical product has been considerably 
reduced. Moreover, the quantity of solid salt used in chemical manufacture 
is now less than the quantity of brine used for the same manufacture. Mr. 
Fletcher, lately the chief alkali inspector, recently stated at a meeting of 
the Society of Chemical Industry that in 1880 the amount of solid salt 
decomposed for making alkali was 648,587 tons, but in 1895 the amount was 
only 408,173 tons. During the same period the amount of salt-brine decom- 
posed by the ammonia soda process had increased from 27,416 tons to 
428,614 tons, so that we have really had to face a revolution in 

THE CHEMICAL SALT TRADE. 

In consequence of the state of things the utilization of our own brine for the 
manufacture of chemicals by ourselves is, as I told you last year, a most 
important question for us ; and we have during the year given it our constant 
and careful attention. We have not yet, however, started the manufacture 
of chemicals. Prices in this trade have ruled very low, in spite of the com- 
bination of firms announced last year. And we have not yet satisfied our- 
selves that any one of the processes submitted to us is so superior in the 
economy of production as to justify our taking it up. Several patents and 
processes have been and are before us ; and we shall not hesitate to make a 
start when we see reasonable grounds for anticipating success. You will 
see in 

THE BALANCE SHEET 

that during the year the expenditure on new works has been 10,971 IDS. lod. 
This expenditure has been mainly for the development of our properties at 
Middlesbrough. It has been a satisfactory feature of our year's trading 
that our sales in that district have increased, and the sums spent in accord- 
ance with the original agreements under which we acquired the property have 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. up 

much improved our position there. We enjoy advantages at Middlesbrough 
which unfortunately we do not possess in Liverpool. Our works are on the 
sea-board ; we are saved the cost of transit down the Weaver, and the dues 
are only id. per ton on the Tees, instead of 3d. per ton at Liverpool. We 
have to thank the Chamber of Commerce and other trading bodies in Liverpool 
for having assisted us in pointing out to the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board 
the necessity of revising the dock and town dues, at any rate as regards salt. 
The due of 3d. applies to all classes of salt, and its incidence on cheaper 
qualities is really oppressive. The amount for the acquisition of distribution 
agencies and covenants with vendors has been slightly increased by the 
payments due in 1896. The more we see of the business the more convinced 
we are that the acquisition of these agencies and covenants was wise. I do 
not think it would have been possible for us to-day to have proposed to you 
even a modest i per cent, dividend on the ordinary shares if we had not 
obtained profits as salt merchants as well as manufacturers. Our steamers 
and barges and our rolling stock appear in the balance sheet at about 1,000 
less than in 1895. During eight years we have written off 17,500 in depre- 
ciation. We have spent 98,000 in improving and repairing our craft, and 
132,750 in waggon and van repairs. So that on these two assets, which 
appeared in the first balance sheet at a cost value of 325,000, we have spent 
in eight years 248,250 out of revenue, or 76 per cent, of the original cost. 
The stocks of salt show some increase in 1896 as compared with 1895. The 
valuation of these stocks is at cost price, and we think there is an advantage 
in holding good and sufficient stocks to meet any demand that may arise. 
Our cash at the bankers and in hand is rather less than last year, owing to 
the fact that payments for freight have been heavier and that the stocks are 
larger. These payments will, of course, be recouped when the cargoes are 
realized. The gross profit on salt, brine, carriage and sundry trading shows 
a decrease of 20,000 compared with 1895. This decrease is due to the 
largely diminished sales to which I have referred, and also to the low prices 
which have ruled in the home trade, and in some foreign markets. We 
cannot, of course, create artificially a demand for salt, nor can we disregard 
the price at which our competitors at home and abroad are prepared to sell 
their products. If you refer to the debit side of the profit and loss account 
you will see that we have during the year spent 46,739 in maintaining and 
improving our plant. The total amount that we have spent in this item 
of maintenance alone during eight years is 425,700. Our working plant is 
all in first-class condition, and in many respects has been considerably 
improved. Administration expenses show a slight decrease compared with 
1895. The diminution in the amount of distributors' discounts and agency 
charges is due to the fact that we are year by year doing more direct trading. 
Rates and taxes show a small decrease, which is satisfactory, as there has 
hitherto been a constant tendency to increase. You will observe in the law 
charges an item of 1,272 gs. zod. charged against 

THE DEAKIN CASE. 

It is with regret that we have had to incur this expenditure, but we have 



120 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNTON. 

been defendants and not plaintiffs in this matter. We have resisted a claim 
for ^50,000, and the decision of the courts as it at present stands awards 
Mr. Deakin the sum of i /- as nominal damages. Our views regarding an 
expenditure thus forced upon us had better not be expressed till the House 
of Lords has decided the appeal which Mr. Deakin has brought. We had 
during the year to appear before a committee of the House of Lords in 
reference to 

THE BRINE PUMPING PROVISIONAL ORDER BILL. 

The House of Lords, however, passed the Bill as amended by the House of 
Commons, and we have now, in common with other brine pumpers in the 
Northwich district, to pay a rate not exceeding 3d. per thousand gallons as 
compensation, as the Board for the district may order. We shall, of course, 
feel justified in not making within this district any salt that we can con- 
veniently and economically make outside of it. The days are past when the 
rate of 3d. per 1,000 gallons would not appreciably affect the margin of profit 
on salt. I trust that in future years the wisdom and discretion of the Brine 
Pumping Board and the gradual enlightenment of the residents will arrange 
that the rate shall not be excessive. But it is our duty to economise in all 
ways that are open to us, and there will be necessarily some transfers of 
production from taxing to non-taxing areas. The Bill is peculiarly unfair 
to us, for we are the largest sufferers by subsidence in Northwich. The Act 
as passed gives no redress to the pumper whose property may be pumped 
down by other pumpers. So we pay and do not get paid. 

SHIP CANAL AND RIVER WEAVER. 

With regard to the cost in connection with the Manchester Ship Canal Bill, 
we have thought it right to debit this year's accounts with the whole cost 
of securing the protective clause referred to in the report. As to the Weaver 
Bill, we are glad that the costs for obtaining the amendments deemed 
necessary have not been very heavy. We hope the Weaver Trustees will 
now see their way to carry out the long deferred improvements between 
Northwich and Winsford. These improvements will be of great advantage 
to the whole district, and the Weaver Trustees will, we hope, be convinced 
that their revenue can best be maintained by providing good accommodation 
and facilities for traders at a rate of toll which will not handicap trade in 
Cheshire. We have by arrangements made with the Mersey, Weaver and 
Ship Canal Carrying Company considerably increased the tonnage of goods 
carried up and down the Weaver. In this way we have utilised to greater 
advantage many of our craft, and we are in other directions utilising some of 
our plant, machinery and buildings. We have also made use of our travelling 
organisations for the sale of various commodities required by our customers. 

ESTABLISHMENT OF A SOAP MANUFACTORY. 

For some little time we have been selling a soap that has been specially 
prepared for us for use with hard water, or with salt water, and our trade in 
it has so increased that we have commenced the erection of soap works on 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 121 

one of our freehold sites in Winsford. This, we trust, in future years will be 
a good source of profit. 

THE RETIRING DIRECTORS. 

The two directors who retire by rotation and offer themselves for re-election 
are Mr. Baring-Gould and myself. I may also say as regards Mr. Baring- 
Gould that the Board greatly appreciate the valuable assistance they have 
received from him and the constant attention that he has given to the 
interests of the Union. The Board wish also to speak highly of the zealous 
and able support which they have received from the general manager, the 
secretary, and all the staff. . . . 

PREPARED FOR A REVIVAL OF TRADE. 

Well, gentlemen, as regards the future, my hopes have been so long deferred 
that I think I had better make no anticipations. I can only say that if the 
salt trade generally should revive, as it has done before, the Union is in a 
better position than ever to take advantage of it. We can make better salt 
than any of our competitors, and can supply it with far greater facilities. 
Some further economies in production will, we believe, shortly become pos- 
sible. There seems a probability of prices in Calcutta continuing at a reason- 
able though not at an inflated figure. We anticipate that some of our legal 
difficulties will be removed during the year ; and we have fortunately no 
Bills to promote or to oppose this year in Parliament. We shall do our best 
to arrest the decline in our salt trade profits, and to create any other branches 
of trade that may show promise of success. 

THE EXPENDITURE ON NEW WORKS. 

Mr. Jeffries : I will not trouble you with many remarks. You have 
explained that your business has considerably lessened and you have placed 
before us in the balance sheet one item of ^10,971 for expenditure on new 
works during the year. It strikes me as somewhat singular that you should 
be spending so much with a decreased business, especially as in the report 
you tell us that in consequence of the continued depression of your salt 
business you are trying to utilise certain parts of your plant and rolling stock 
for other purposes. Those facts do not seem to me to join very smoothly 
with each other, and perhaps you can explain and show why you are spending 
so much money on new plant with a decreased business, whilst you are trying 
to utilise other parts of the property which you have been using for business 
purposes. 

THE LAW EXPENSES. 

Mr. Griffiths : I find that although the business is decreasing our expenses 
are increasing. But as that matter has been already referred to I will merely 
call attention to the other item. Law expenses do certainly seem not on a 
very economical scale. It is usual for the unsuccessful party to have to pay 
the successful party's costs. I have found that in my own experience with 
the law, and I can hardly make out how it is that we have an item against us 



122 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

of upwards of 1,200 of these costs. Of course the judges have great dis- 
cretion, and they may have given a shilling damages and yet stated that 
both parties must pay their own costs. That is not satisfactory. So far as 
things go it does appear that Mr. Deakin is in the wrong. If he is in the 
wrong he ought to bear the costs. But that may be a matter beyond our 
control. I pass on to the next item, viz., the large amount of Parliamentary 
expenses. I do hope that the economies which you, sir, say are being 
practised in other parts of the business will be extended to that part. The 
sum of 4,000 for one bill does seem somewhat large. 

SUGGESTED REMOVAL OF THE HEADQUARTERS. 

Mr. W. S. McDowell : I think at one of the earlier meetings, sir, you were 
asked if it would not be better to move the headquarters of the Salt Union 
from London to Liverpool, and at that time I believe, if I remember cor- 
rectly, you said that you thought it would be wise at some future time to do 
so, but at the time you were asked you had so many things to attend to in 
London that you could probably attend to them better by having the Board 
here. I live in Liverpool ; I am in connection with the salt trade, and I 
know some little of its working Liverpool seems to me to be the natural 
centre of the salt trade. ... I wish we could get a few more such Liverpool 
men to join us, making Liverpool the central office, and, if necessary, either 
keep on the present London Board or reduce them as and when the London 
directors feel inclined to retire. 

QUESTIONS BY DR. MCDOUGALL. 

Dr. McDougall : With regard to the United Alkali Company's contract, 
I should be glad to know whether that contract has run out, and whether 
there is any likelihood of a new contract being made upon improved lines, or 
whether the old contract is to be left in abeyance ? With regard to soap, 
you have told us that you are going to start works at Winsford. I think the 
shareholders would be interested to know whether it would not be possible 
to have those works established where the cost of production would be con- 
siderably less, and where the cost of tonnage up the Weaver would be saved ? 
Perhaps you will tell us what is the difference in point of saving on the 
manufactured article between Weston Point and Winsford ? With regard to 
the Executive Committee, which meets so often in Liverpool (and this 
perhaps would meet Mr. McDowell's objection) I should like to ask if they 
act on behalf of the directors, or are they merely a consulting committee, 
because if that is so, I should have something else to say. 

I think the most serious objection is that which has been made 
by Mr. McDowell, and I should be glad to hear from him whether there 
is any truth in this or not because I know Mr. McDowell came here 
once before to stir the meeting, and he did stir it pretty well whether it is 
the fact that gentlemen in business in Liverpool are ten days without being 
able to have an interview with the general manager of the Company ? 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 123 

Mr. McDowell : Longer at times, unless you communicate by telegraph 
or letter, which is not always satisfactory. 

Dr. McDougall : I wish to say something with regard to the appointment 
of a deputy general manager. I think it is a very important question indeed, 
because when Mr. Fells is in Liverpool, his deputy might be doing his work. 
The deputy should be one of the best men that could possibly be found, and 
should not be appointed from favouritism or any other reason. With regard 
to the soap business, I intended to ask how many tons you considered would 
be produced per week, but I do not think it would be a fair question, and, 
therefore, I will not put it. With regard to outsiders, I understand they are 
the people who are damaging the salt business up and down the country. 
The question for the Salt Union directors to consider is whether they could 
not suspend the payment of dividends upon the preference and ordinary 
shares altogether, and give them two or three years of a pretty hot time at 
reduced prices. If they are going to undersell in salt, which is a very mean 
and contemptible thing to do at the best of times, then I think there is a 
possibility that the shareholders in the Salt Union may feel disposed to be 
deprived of their dividends, in order that the property may improve in this 
way, by meeting them on their own ground. However, probably wiser 
counsels will prevail and they will be willing to come in to share, at any rate 
somewhat, in the losses, for after all is said and done, they have made all 
their money under the wings of the Salt Union. If the Salt Union had not 
come into existence many of them would not be salt-owners to-day. 

THE UNION HEAVILY HANDICAPPED. 

Mr. Jarrett : I suppose I am only one among a number of shareholders 
who are not satisfied with this balance sheet. The dividend from year to 
year has decreased, and now you propose to pay i per cent. ; next year what 
will it be or nothing ? 

THE CHAIRMAN'S REPLY. 

The Chairman : As regards what Mr. Jeffries said as to the expenditure 
on new works during the year, I think he must see that although one is 
anxious to economise in every way when business is bad, yet it would be a 
fatal thing not to endeavour to improve our property if we saw that by 
spending a certain amount of money it would considerably increase the value 
of that property, and possibly next year would bring a very considerable 
addition to the income. With regard to this expenditure of ; 10,000 on new 
works, I told you in my opening speech it was spent upon our property in 
Middlesbrough, where we have made a new pier, or new wharf, which enables 
ships of large tonnage to come alongside and receive our salt, and therefore 
we save money in shipping the salt, and we get further orders because we are 
able to deliver the salt with such extraordinary facility. So that I think it 
is an expenditure justified, even when we have a diminishing income. Then 
with regard to Mr. Griffith, I quite agree that these law expenses are a sad 
necessity, and they happen to be specially great this year. But as regards 
what he said on the question of costs, he must know, as a lawyer, that even 

L 



124 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

if you get costs, they do not amount at all to what you have spent. ... I 
should like to say with regard to that large Parliamentary expense which 
you will see pointed out under the head of " Brine Pumping Compensation 
Act and Provision (Xorthwich area) ^3,000," that that is not all law expenses. 
That is partly a provision we have made for any compensation we may have 
to pay this year. We put aside about ^1,300 for the period which has 
elapsed in regard to the sum we may have to pay for compensation under the 
new Provisional Order. That provision is not law expenses. That is a 
prudent provision for what we may have to pay this year. As regards what 
Mr. McDowell said of moving the headquarters to Liverpool, it is perfectly 
true that it is a question that has been raised several times before, and I have 
agreed that in some ways I think it might be to the advantage of the Company 
to have its headquarters in Liverpool, but in other ways I think it would not. 
I think that a very considerable amount of business that is carried on from 
London is better done in the London office. In fact, I think it will be neces- 
sary for us anyhow to have a London office. ... I may tell you a very con- 
siderable amount of the business has shifted from London to Liverpool in the 
natural course of things, and the Executive Committee, to which Dr. 
McDougall referred, does transact a very considerable amount of the business 
of the Company. I think there is a trend that way, and in consequence we 
have effected economies in the London office, and we hope to effect further, 
but I do not think we are prepared to admit that the office should be trans- 
ferred altogether. 

Mr. Ward : I do hope, judging from all past experiences and mine has 
been a very long one in connection with the trade that we have arrived at 
the bottom of the depression, and that there is a probability we shall begin 
to ascend, instead of going any lower. I think if it had not been for the 
East Indian crisis, and the question of freights, we should have been doing 
better last year. I have seen a great many of these depressions in times past, 
and I think all the signs are that there is a probability we have touched the 
bottom, and shall be going up again. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 125 



REPORT FOR 1897. 

Ninth Annual Report of the Directors for the year ended 31 st December, 1897, 
to be presented to the Shareholders at the Ninth Ordinary General Meeting 
at Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, on the 28th day of February, 
1898. 

UNION'S SALT TRADE IN 1897. The tonnage of salt delivered by the 
Union in 1897 was 1,014,000 tons. The continued decline in the demand 
for manufactured salt in the chemical and allied industries, and the 
imposition and re-imposition of fiscal duties in countries to which British 
salt is exported, have increased the competition amongst the salt manufac- 
turers in the United Kingdom, rendering decrease in tonnage coincident with 
decrease in price. The rise in the rates of freight for sea-borne salt which 
took place in the autumn of 1896 continued during a great part of 1897, and 
thus further limited the profits derivable from the sale and consignment of 
salt. This effect was particularly noticeable in the Indian market, which 
was also adversely affected during the year by war, famine and plague. 
The fishing on the east coast of Scotland and on various parts of the English 
coast was much less successful than usual, causing considerable decline in 
the quantity of salt used for fish curing purposes. 

DEAKIN v. SALT UNION. Your directors are glad to be able to report 
the conclusion of this prolonged litigation, which was begun by Mr. Deakin 
in 1891. The judgment of the Official Referee, awarding Mr. Deakin i /- 
damages, was confirmed by the House of Lords in May last. In addition to 
the first action, Mr. Deakin had commenced in 1892 a second action, claiming 
continuing damages for the same and other alleged breaches. After the 
House of Lords' Judgment, an arrangement was come to with Mr. Deakin 
in October last, by which, for a small consideration, he surrendered his 
trading and other covenants, trade marks, brands, and the goodwill of his 
distribution business to the Union. The directors regret the loss of time and 
the trouble and expense which these actions involved, but the very large 
sums which Mr. Deakin claimed rendered any compromise impossible. The 
Judgment referred to has justified the defence by the Company. 

SALT UNION v. HARVEY. Messrs. J. P. Harvey & Co., Salt Manu- 
facturers, Droitwich, having without consent of, or notice to, the Union, 
laid pipes for the conveyance of brine under roads of which the subsoil 
belonged to the Union, the Board applied for and obtained an injunction to 
restrain Messrs. Harvey from using these pipes, also an order for their 
removal, with costs against Messrs. Harvey. Owing to the case involving 
questions of ancient Corporate title, the expense to be borne by the Union, 
apart from the taxed costs, was very heavy. 



126 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

SOAP AND CHEMICALS. The completion of the Union's plant for manu- 
facturing Soap for Household and Toilet purposes was delayed by the 
Engineering Strike, but it is now in operation. The same cause has retarded 
the trial which is being made with an Electrolytic process for the production 
of Caustic Soda and Bleach, the tests of which give indications of success. 

COMMITTEE OF SHAREHOLDERS. A Committee representing some of the 
largest shareholders have issued a circular advocating the removal of the 
Head Office to Liverpool, and have given notice of a resolution, to be moved 
at the General Meeting. The question has been raised at previous General 
Meetings, and the Board have always declared that the decision rested with 
the shareholders. A printed slip is attached to the proxy enclosed, and the 
shareholders are requested to write on it " Yes " or " No " to the proposed 
removal. 

The Board desire to point out that for some years past the Union have 
had a large office at Liverpool, where all the export business of the Union 
from the Mersey is carried on. If the majority of the shareholders approve 
of the removal, the Board will proceed, in consultation with any Committee 
appointed by the shareholders, to carry out the proposed change ; and will 
at a Special Meeting of the shareholders, to be called for the purpose, submit 
the names of the new directors to be nominated to fill the places of the 
London directors who will retire, as opportunity serves, in consequence of 
the alteration of the place of the Board meetings. 

BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of ^7,888 193. 2d., expended 
on new works, has been charged to the General Capital Account. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for salt, brine, carriage and 
sundry trading was ^169,795 193. 9d., and from other 
sources, ^40,693 is. 3d., making the total amount. . . . ^210,489 i o 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, dis- 
tributors' discounts, agency, and other charges set forth 
in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all sources 
amount to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66,822 19 10 

Deduct the debenture stock interest paid on ist July, 
1897, and ist January, 1898 .. .. .. .. .. 54,ooo o o 



^12,822 19 10 
Add the amount brought forward .. .. .. 12, 531 4 4 

Leaving .. 25,354 4 2 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 127 

Total Profit .. 25,354 4 2 

Your directors recommend that a dividend for the 
year ended 3ist December last be declared at the rate of 
i per cent, on the Preference Shares, which will require. . 12,500 o o 

That, in addition to 3,500 this year, there be further 
written off acquisition of distribution agencies and cove- 
nants with vendors . . . . . . . . . . . . 322 19 10 



12,822 19 10 
And that there be carried forward .. .. .. 12,531 4 4 



25,354 4 2 
By Order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 
16, EASTCHEAP, 

LONDON, E.G., 

1 8th February, 1898. 



128 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SHAREHOLDERS. 

To THE SHAREHOLDERS OF 

THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

DEAR SIR OR MADAM, 

The undersigned were appointed at a Meeting of Shareholders in the 
above Company, to which all holders of 500 shares and upwards were 
invited, to act as a Committee to approach the directors in a friendly spirit, 
and to take such steps as the Committee might think advisable with the 
view of improving the management and prospects of the Company's business. 

It is generally admitted that the present condition of the Company's 
business is exceedingly unsatisfactory. The proportion of profit, which it 
was estimated in the original prospectus would be available for Reserve 
Fund and Dividend upon the Ordinary Share Capital was ^385,000 a year. 
This proportion actually amounted in 1890 to ^191,447, but fell in 1896 to 
^21,292, and the announcement that at the approaching meeting the directors 
will only recommend a dividend of ij per cent, on the Preference Shares 
clearly shows a further and larger shrinkage. 

Under these circumstances it is felt that some resolute effort ought to be 
made to grapple with the continued shrinking of the Company's business, 
and the undersigned, who hold or represent upwards of ^470,000 of the 
Company's Share and Debenture Capital, are unanimously of opinion that 
it is impossible to conduct the Company's business to the best advantage 
from a London office, and that steps should be taken to remove the Head 
Office to Liverpool. 

The mere fact that the exports of salt from the Port of London only 
amount to about 3,000 tons per annum, whilst those from the Mersey ports 
generally exceed 600,000 tons per annum, appears to your Committee a strong 
ground for establishing the Head Office in Liverpool, and the practical 
impossibility of getting commercial men of standing in Liverpool to give the 
time necessary for serving on a London Board is another ground for making 
the proposed alteration, whilst the principal reason for the original establish- 
ment of the office in London has now entirely ceased. 

Apart from all this, the broad fact remains that the Company, during the 
last nine years, has been unsuccessful ; and even those who take the least 
hopeful view of the Company's future can hardly refuse to admit that it is 
worth while to try the effect of managing the business at Liverpool the 
natural centre of the English salt trade. 

Your present directors, who have met the Committee in a friendly and 
cordial manner, expressed to your Committee a willingness to submit to the 
shareholders the suggested change to Liverpool, without expressing any 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



129 



opinion either one way or the other, and to ask the shareholders to give a 
direct vote on the subject. For this purpose a slip is attached to the proxy 
sent herewith, and you are requested to state " Yes " or " No " whether you 
approve of the business being conducted in Liverpool instead of in London, 
and to return the slip with the proxy. 

Your present directors point out that, if the business is removed to 
Liverpool, several of them will retire ; but they have promised that they will 
do everything in their power to assist your Committee in their efforts to 
obtain thoroughly efficient directors in their place, and particularly men of 
good commercial standing in Liverpool. They have also been good enough 
to promise to retain their seats for sufficient time to ensure the harmonious 
working and continuous management of the Company's business. 

The Committee desire to avoid holding out fallacious hopes to the share- 
holders, or inducing them to shut their eyes to difficulties which exist, which 
for some time have existed, and, it is almost certain, will continue to exist, 
but they feel very strongly that it is impossible for any Board of Directors 
to adequately grapple with these difficulties, unless the Head Office of the 
Company is sufficiently near the main manufacturing and trading centres 
of the Company's extensive operations. 

A resolution will be proposed at the meeting for continuing the Committee, 
and, if you are prepared to support its efforts to improve the management 
and prospects of the Company's business, you are requested to sign and return 
the enclosed proxy, and also to write the word " Yes " in the space left for 
that purpose on the slip attached thereto, and to return same with the proxy. 

We are, Dear Sir or Madam, 
Yours faithfully, 



WM. s. MCDOWELL, 

Chairman of Committee. 
J. W. BRETT, 
EDWARD EDMONDSON, 
JAMES HEAD, \ 

J. B. HUNTER, 
T. B. ROYDEN, 
FREDERICK WALKER, 

Secretary of the Committee. ) 



Committee of 

Shareholders of 

The Salt Union, Limited. 



34, COLEMAN STREET, LONDON, E.G., 
i/th February, 1898. 



130 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



NINTH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING. 

The Ninth Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders was held at 
Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, E.G., on 28th February, 1898. 
The Hon. Lionel Ashley (Chairman of the Board of Directors) presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH. 

The Chairman : Now, gentlemen, I will begin by saying that the very 
unsatisfactory results of our trade during the ninth year of the Union's 
existence may be summarised as due to the decrease in the price of salt, to 
the decrease in the quantity sold, and to the increased cost of make. This 
last factor has been produced by the increased price of fuel, which is the 
principal item in our cost of production. Before dealing in detail with these 
points, it will be well to review the general trade done with various countries. 
To the United States there has been a decrease of 26,000 tons, the quantity 
in 1896 having been 119,000 tons, and in 1897 having fallen to 93,000 tons. 
This decrease is mainly due to the re-imposition by the United States Govern- 
ment of the duty on salt, being part of the Dingley Bill. There are many 
anomalies connected with the imposition and the collection of this tax, and it 
will have probably the effect of raising freights from the United States to 
this country. We have, therefore, reason to hope that Americans may come 
to the conclusion that it is against their interests to tax so heavily an article 
which is used so largely in their packing and provision trade. To Russia, 
Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark there has been a decrease of nearly 
18,000 tons in 1897 compared with 1896, the quantity in 1896 having been 
71,000 tons and in 1897 53,000 tons. This decrease is largely due to the 
scarcity of suitable ships of small tonnage and to the high rates of freight 
which have ruled the Baltic ports. To the West Indies and South America 
there has been a decrease in export of about 4,000 tons, and to Australia a 
decrease of 3,000 tons, the quantity having fallen from 38,000 tons in 1896 
to 35,000 tons in 1897. In this case also high rates of freight have caused 
shipments to decrease. There has, on the other hand, been an increase to 
British North America, from 64,000 tons in 1896 to 71,000 tons in 1897, and 
an increase of 2,000 tons to Africa. To Holland, despite the severe competi- 
tion with German salt, we have increased our tonnage by 3,000 tons. In 
Belgium, where we have to meet both German and French competition, we 
have in 1897 done as much trade as in 1896. I have referred at previous 
meetings to the excellent system of inland waterways on the Continent, which 
give easy and cheap access for German and French salt products to neigh- 
bouring countries. We are in this respect hampered in Cheshire and Wor- 
cestershire by the distance of our works from the port of shipment. The 
heavy Weaver tolls of lod. per ton on our white salt and 5d. per ton on our 
rock salt, together with the dock and town dues of Liverpool of 3d. per 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 131 

ton on both qualities, handicap us terribly when we are competing with the 
salt manufacturers whose works are close to the port of shipment. We 
obtained, some time ago, a reduction of ad. per ton on the Weaver toll, and 
we hope for some further concessions. To India the shipments have increased 
from 212,000 tons to 256,000 tons. I mentioned at our meeting last year 
that though our tonnage sent to India in 1896 was less by 46,000 tons than 
in 1895, yet the prices realized had been much more remunerative, but that 
we could not expect those prices to be maintained, owing to increased 
shipments. This forecast has been realised, and the prices in India in 1897 
have been very much less than in 1896. Not only have prices been lower, 
but the cost of carriage to India has very largely increased. The freights to 
India have on the average been doubled in the last two years, and we have 
further suffered in this our largest and, at times, most remunerative market 
from the effects of war, pestilence and famine. We consider, however, that 
we have a permanent interest in the Indian trade, and that we must not 
only act with a view to one year's business, but with a view to keeping our 
hold on the market. In our competition with German salt we have been 
fairly successful. If we compare 1891, the year in which we became re- 
sponsible for management, with 1897, we nn d German exports to India have 
decreased 50 per cent, and our own exports have increased 10 per cent. 

CHEMICAL AND SOAP WORKS. 

I have said at previous meetings that it might be desirable to use our 
resources for the manufacture of chemicals. A number of patents and 
processes have been investigated by us. We have tried one during the year, 
and the results are such that they give some promise of success. If you look 
at the balance sheet you will see that during the year the sum of ^7,888 193. 2d. 
has been spent on new works. This expenditure has been mainly for develop- 
ment of our Middlesbrough properties in accordance with the agreement of 
purchase, and also with a view to obtaining our due share of the trade there. 
Some portion of the amount has been spent on soap plant and works at 
Winsford. This plant is now in full operation, and we hope will be a good 
source of profit this year and for many years to come. We have through our 
existing organization special facilities for distributing soap and other articles 
without additional expense. The item " Freehold, copyhold and leasehold 
properties," shows some increase, owing partly to the acquisition of some 
adjacent properties, which was considered absolutely necessary, and also to 
our having converted some of our leaseholds into freeholds, thereby relieving 
ourselves from some onerous conditions and covenants, and at the same time 
securing a good rate of interest on the capital so spent. The amount for the 
acquisition of distribution agencies and covenants with vendors has been 
increased by payments that were due in 1897, and also by the sum paid for 
the acquisition of the distribution agency and covenants of Mr. Buckley 
Deakin. The payment to Mr. Deakin for his covenants, trade marks, brands 
and good-will of the distribution agency was 1,750. In addition, we have 
agreed for a short term of years to make small annual payments to 



132 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

Mr. Deakin and his manager in consideration of their not competing in the salt 
trade. This case was, as you know, taken twice to the House of Lords, and 
the Union had no option but to defend the action. The result has justified 
our course, but the Company has suffered much, from loss of valuable time, 
from expenses incurred, and from being prevented, during the continuance 
of the action, from dealing commercially with our trade. Now that the 
decision has been given we shall be able to conduct our business with less 
expense and on commercial lines. We are still of opinion that the acquisition 
of distribution businesses and covenants with vendors was absolutely 
necessary for the welfare of the Union. I may remind you that these 
restraints to our freedom were in full force previously to 1891. The present 
Board has succeeded in liberating the Union from these fetters that ought 
never to have been imposed. There are only one or two covenants left, and 
it is to be hoped that the good sense of the holders will prevent their being 
worked to the detriment of the Union. We are no longer at the mercy of dis- 
tributors whose interest it was to buy salt from us as cheaply as possible and 
to sell it at the highest price possible. 

OUR STEAMERS, BARGES AND ROLLING STOCK 

appear at about 2,400 less than in 1896. During nine years 19,000 has 
been written off in depreciation. 107,000 has been spent in repairing and 
improving our craft, and 149,500 in waggon and van repairs ; so that on 
these two assets, which appeared in our first balance sheet at a cost of 
325,000, we have spent in nine years 275,000 out of revenue, or 85 per cent, 
on the original cost. The stocks of salt valued at cost price appear at about 
9,000 less than in 1896, and fuel and materials at about 500 less. Sundry 
debtors are at about 18,000 less. Bills receivable and cash are 46,000 less. 
This decrease is, of course, due to the diminished profits of the year. If you 
turn to the debit side of the profit and loss account you will see that main- 
tenance of plant appears at 44,878 los. 2d. The total amount we have 
spent in maintaining and improving our plant during nine years is 470,500. 
Administration expenses show as 25,801 against 32,449 in 1896. But the 
decrease is not represented by the difference between those two figures, for 
we have this year charged off gross profit some wages paid to those who 
were entirely engaged in the manufacture of salt ; but apart from this, there 
is a substantial decrease, owing to economies which we have been able to 
effect. Some further economies which have been rendered possible by the 
conclusion of the Deakin case will not appear till the next balance sheet. 
The distributors' commission and the agency charges show a slight increase 
in 1897, due principally to larger sums being payable to one of our agents, 
who receives a special rate of commission. Fees and travelling expenses of 
directors again show a decrease. In 1891 they amounted to 6,082. In 
order to make clear to the shareholders that our law charges are not all for 
litigation, we have this year shown separately the legal charges, 1,541. 
Parliamentary expenses last year were fortunately not heavy ; we obtained 
thereby protective clauses in the North-Eastern Railway Bill, by which the 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 133 

railway company undertook to build a subway for our workmen and vehicles 
to go from our property on the one side of the line to our property on the 
other side. We have made a provision of 3,407 in connection with the Brine 
Pumping Compensation rate. The question is still undecided as to the 
period for which this rate should be made. We regret that this rate should 
be so heavy, but Parliament in its wisdom has passed the Act. It was 
asserted at the time that a rate of threepence per thousand gallons would 
not appreciably affect the margin of profit on salt, but I do not think that 
anybody would say so now. 

THE BRINE PUMPING ACT. 

Last year I said that the Brine Pumping Act is especially unfair to us, 
as we are the largest sufferers by subsidence in Northwich. The Act gives 
no redress to the pumper whose property may be pumped down by others. 
We pay and we do not get paid. Our suffering from subsidence has during 
the year so increased that we have taken counsel's opinion as to whether 
Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Company, who have their principal pumping 
station on the edge of our large brine reservoirs in the Northwich district, 
and who, in our opinion, have tapped these brine reservoirs in the bottom 
rock, were not legally liable to us under the common law for the abstraction 
of our brine and the subsidence of our property. On being advised that they 
were so liable we again approached Messrs. Brunner, Mond, and suggested 
if they were still in doubt that a case should be stated jointly for the opinion 
of counsel, or that our counsel should meet theirs and try to come to some 
amicable settlement. All the modes that we proposed for trying to settle 
the matter in a friendly way have been declined by Messrs. Brunner, Mond. 
If we turn to the credit side of the profit and loss account, rents receivable 
show an increase of 800, and dividends, &c., an increase of 400. The gross 
profit on salt, brine, &c., shows a decrease, I am sorry to say, of 86,548 in 
1897 compared with 1896. This decrease, as I have already said, is the 
result of the increased cost of fuel, the decreased tonnage sold, and the 
decreased price realised. Fuel has cost us about 10,000 more in 1897 than 
in 1896. The decrease of tonnage I have already alluded to. The price 
realised has been on the average rather more than 10 per cent, less in 1897 
than in 1896, and it must be remembered that 10 per cent, on the price means 
much more than 10 per cent, on the profit, as the whole 10 per cent, is taken 
out of the narrow margin of profit. I do not think that Mr. McDowell and 
his co-signatories in the circular which you have all received, when they talk 
of dividends being diminished through mismanagement, have taken into 
consideration this very important question of price, which is really the main 
factor of the present condition of things. We have had during the last year 
to reduce the price of some kinds of salt more than one shilling a ton. The 
average price of salt during the last seven years has fallen 35. 4d. a ton. In 
one brand of our salt, which Mr. McDowell's firm controls as sole agents, we 
have, as he knows, since the Union was formed, been obliged to reduce the 
price over ten shillings a ton ; and I need not remind you that every shilling 



134 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

on a million tons amounts to ^50,000. Perhaps when Mr. McDowell addresses 
us presently, he will explain how he proposes that his new Liverpool Board 
shall raise the price of salt in India, and how he thinks they will reduce the 
rates of freight to that country. 

A FIGHTING POLICY. 

When we took the management of the Union, in 1891, I warned you that 
in the face of competition caused by high prices we should have to adopt a 
fighting policy, and that we must take the course of careful revision of prices, 
with a view to reduction when and where necessary, and you gave your 
approval. That policy we have carried out, reducing our prices only when 
we were obliged to do so. We could, of course, have maintained, or increased, 
our tonnage by selling the whole of our salt at a price less than the other 
manufacturers ; but in that case your dividends would have ceased years 
ago. We have, moreover, been able, from time to time, to come to an agree- 
ment with some of our competitors to sell on a scale of moderate prices, and 
that policy we lose no opportunity of extending, as in such combination and 
agreements we see the best hope of the market recovering itself. In justice 
to the present Board I must remind you of the origin of the present condition 
of the Company. In the early days of the Union there were eight members 
of the Board out of fifteen who had been salt manufacturers. They were all 
vendors, and they had that great commercial standing and that great 
experience in the salt trade to which so much importance is now attached, 
and which the present Board are said to lack. Those gentlemen naturally 
took the lead in trade matters, and as they had an absolute majority on the 
Board, they could have carried any measure which their great commercial 
standing and their great experience in the salt trade might dictate. What 
was the result ? During two years they disputed among themselves ; they 
neglected economies of concentration ; they laid the seeds of two of the 
most serious lawsuits brought against us ; and, worse than all, they fixed 
the prices of salt so high that, in the words of the late Mr. C. A. McDowell, 
the prices were calculated to cause any man to bore and seek for salt, and to 
make competition worse than ever before. Having done this irreparable 
harm, at the end of two years they took their departure, and they left the 
remainder of the Board, as I said, in 1891, to try to wipe up the mess. At 
your request, gentlemen, we undertook to carry on the work, though we told 
you we did not covet the position, that we only remained from feelings of 
duty, and only so long as the shareholders showed confidence in us. But 
owing to the irreparable harm done by the gentlemen with experience in the 
salt trade, we have had to fight, and the Union will always have to fight, 
against a competition worse than in the pre-Union days, and the Company 
is at the same time saddled with properties bought at monopoly prices from 
the vendors. The present Board have done all that was possible in so difficult 
a position. They have carefully reduced prices so as to keep hold of the 
market without losing all their profit. They have effected considerable 
economies in management. They have brought the lawsuits to a successful 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 135 

issue. They have freed the Union from the shackles of distribution agencies 
and covenants imposed by the vendors ; and they have developed and are 
developing many subsidiary sources of revenue. But no Board, in the 
present state of the trade, can possibly control prices. The present Board 
does not admit that any other body of men with or without experience in the 
salt trade could have done better. I have said this much to show publicly 
that we do not acknowledge that we have been either ignorant or incapable. 

THE LONDON BOARD'S FAREWELL. 

At the same time, we are not surprised that the shareholders should at last 
lose patience, and wish for a change. We are glad that some new men should 
try their hands at this uphill task, and shall be still more glad to hear of their 
success. We do not despair of the future. There have been always ups and 
downs in the salt trade, and, if a good time should come, we hope that the 
shareholders will acknowledge that the foundations we have laid deserve some 
of the credit. The most pressing want for the Company's welfare is to get 
a price for salt that will leave a fair profit. As I have already told you, we 
have been trying, and are still trying, to get outside makers to join with us, 
in working agreements, to enable all parties to sell at a reasonable return. 
We have succeeded in making one combination, and we hope that others may 
be made. I understand that the Indian market promises to be better this 
year, and that freights are not likely to rule so high. There are further 
economies to be made, and more concentration is possible now that the 
Deakin case has set us free. And later on it may be of advantage to readjust 
the capital account, and to rearrange the classes of shares. Well, ladies and 
gentlemen, as this is in fact the valedictory statement of the Board, or rather 
of the London members, I wish to express to you our appreciation of the 
great courtesy that you have always shown to us, of the patience that you 
have exhibited under adverse circumstances, and of the confidence that you 
have placed in us till now. \Ve have had no object to serve save the interests 
of our fellow shareholders, and we have worked hard. We deeply regret 
that the results have not been commensurate with our efforts, but we hand 
over the administration with the germs of new and, we hope, remunerative 
business of various kinds, and free from most of the shackles and covenants. 
We hope that favourable prices and market conditions may enable our 
successors to utilise these advantages and to obtain results more satisfactory 
than have been possible in our time. 

THE UNION'S SHAREHOLDINGS. 

A Shareholder : May I ask what is the actual value of the shares held by 
this Company in other salt trading companies, as represented by over ^138,000 
in the balance sheet, and whether the income is the dividend from these 
shares in the past year. 

The Chairman : It is impossible to say what the value is. Take the case 
of our Droitwich Salt Company's, Limited, shares. It was held that it would 
be to the interest of the Company, instead of calling it part of the Salt Union, 
to keep it on as the Droitwich Salt Company, Limited, because certain leases 



1 36 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

had been granted to the Droitwich Salt Company which, I believe, would 
have fallen in if it had ceased to exist as a company. Their shares are not 
quoted on the Stock Exchange, and it is impossible to value them. In good 
years we have made considerable profits by these companies, which are 
represented as companies, but to all intents and purposes they are part of the 
Salt Union. It is the same with the Marston Hall Salt Company, Limited, 
Dalway & Company, Limited, and other companies. They are the property 
of the Salt Union, but they are treated under their original names. It is 
impossible to put any value on their shares, as they are not quoted on the 
Stock Exchange. 

A RESOLUTION TO ADJOURN THE MEETING. 

Mr. Keen : I want to move a resolution, and I rather think that this is 
the proper time to move it. ... It is this, " That this meeting be and is hereby 
adjourned to and be resumed on Monday, the 28th day of March, 1898, at 
half-past two o'clock in the afternoon, at the Law Association Rooms, Cook 
Street, Liverpool, and that, in the meantime, a full report of these proceedings 
be forthwith despatched to each shareholder of the Company." 

Dr. McDougall : I have much pleasure in seconding the amendment that 
has been proposed by Mr. Keen. I know that Mr. Keen is a large share- 
holder, and that Mr. Keen purchased his shares at a very considerable price 
in excess of their par value. 

The Chairman : Gentlemen, I think that it is unfortunate that this debate 
should have arisen now, when it ought properly to have come when the motion 
for removal took place. We shall simply end by discussing the whole thing 
twice over. But I think before I proceed to put this amendment of Mr. 
Keen, I must say one or two things. I do not want the public to think that 
we are supporting any opposition to this movement for removal. We have 
acquiesced in it. The truth is that the one point that governs the whole 
matter, and which has been put plainly enough over and over again before 
the shareholders, is whether the London directors are worth having. That 
is the gist of the thing. They have been told over and over again that if 
the head office was moved to Liverpool the London directors would go. We 
have ventured occasionally to say that we are worth having, and that we 
have done good. Mr. McDowell says that our merits do not outweigh the 
disadvantages of having the head office in London. The shareholders upon 
this advice have made their choice, and they have told the London directors 
to go. It would be perfectly ridiculous, I maintain, to adjourn the meeting, 
to give the London directors the opportunity of what ? Of telling all the 
shareholders over and over again that they are worth a great deal more than 
the shareholders thought. That is what it amounts to. You ask us to 
adjourn the meeting in order that we may send afresh to all the shareholders, 
who have given their proxies, and say to them, " Oh, you have made a great 
mistake ; the London directors are really worth more than you thought." 
That is a thing that we are not going to do. It does not require any 
explanation. The shareholders have been told that if the office is removed 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 137 

the London directors will go ; and then they are asked, " Will you move the 
office ?" They say, " Yes, we will " ; and they have sent proxies to that 
effect. It is all very well to talk about strong Consultative Committees, and 
so on ; but your present London members of the Board will not consent to 
work with a committee. So long as you trusted us we were content to do 
our best ; but we are not going on for a year with a Consultative Committee, 
composed I do not know of whom Dr. McDougall mentioned Sir Joseph 
Verdin's name. I do not say a word against that gentleman ; but I should 
like to point out that some of the things that I have been saying in my speech 
referred to when he was on the Board, and when he was one of the men who 
did so much harm to the Salt Union. Well, gentlemen, it is a strong order 
that you should come to us when we are smarting under the damage done 
by Sir Joseph Verdin, and say, " Now we will get this great man to work with 
you, and set things right." I do not, as I say, wish to say a word against 
him. I think that he is a clever man, and might be able to pull you round. 
All that I can say is, that I should be glad to see him do it ; but how can you 
ask us to work with a Consultative Committee under his management ? 

Mr. Keen's resolution was carried by a show of hands, but lost on the poll 
that was subsequently demanded. 

MR. MCDOWELL OR SIR JOSEPH VERDIN. 

The Chairman : The directors propose that if these two motions are carried 
they will then consult with the committee named by Mr. McDowell, and will 
call another meeting of the shareholders to confirm what has been done. I 
think that this is the best thing under the circumstances. Speaking honestly 
to the shareholders, I do not see much to choose or rather I would say I 
would prefer a committee headed by Mr. McDowell to a committee headed 
by Sir Joseph Verdin. I have no fault to find with either gentleman, but as 
regards what I think the true interests of the Salt Union, I think Mr. 
McDowell, with his large holding in the Salt Union, is more likely to be a 
useful friend to the Company than Sir Joseph Verdin, who, I think, has got 
very little interest. I do not see why those gentlemen who oppose Mr. 
McDowell's committee should be in a state of excitement at all about it. I 
think the gentlemen on his committee have a very large holding in the Salt 
Union, and are as likely as anybody to do all the good they can. I think I 
may now say that the amendment of Mr. Keen has been lost, and in order to 
get to business I will propose the original motion : " That the report of the 
directors for the year ended 3ist December, 1897, with statements of 
accounts and balance sheet, now submitted, be received and adopted." 

The resolution was put and carried unanimously. 

FIRST HINT OF REDUCTION OF CAPITAL. 

The Hon. C. W. Mills : Gentlemen, you have done me the honour to re- 
elect me, and I wish it to be understood now that if I can really be of use in 
carrying on the work of the Company temporarily I am ready to do so, but 



138 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

that I hope in my own interest, and in the interest of the Board to be formed, 
you will not make that period too long. I need hardly say it is altogether out 
of my power to attend meetings that are held at Liverpool, I cannot afford 
the time, and cannot get away. If I might say only one word for myself, I 
must say I believe that your salvation will not come from economy in manage- 
ment so much, or even from a rise in the price of salt ; you will have to take 
more drastic measures than that, measures which I think have been apparent 
to some of us for some little while. You will have to get your preference 
shareholders to take 5 per cent., and you will have to divide your ordinary 
shares either scale down your capital to one half or make your ordinary 
shares deferred and ordinary. Unless you are content to forego your income 
altogether on your ordinary shares for a considerable number of years, I 
believe unless you have some drastic measure of that kind, you will certainly 
not be able to get the Company into a thoroughly satisfactory position at 
once. Of course you might well ask us why we did not do it. The reason 
we have not done it was because we had no mandate from the shareholders 
to do so, and whoever is empowered to make this very drastic alteration in 
the Company must do so with the full consent of the whole body of share- 
holders, he must be a strong man and you must all back him up. In the 
meantime, I can only say, so far as I am concerned, I shall be happy to work 
for a limited period as much as I can on your behalf. 

RESOLUTION TO REMOVE TO LIVERPOOL. 

Mr. W. S. McDowell : Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, in accordance with 
the notice given, I beg to propose " That this meeting of the shareholders of 
the Salt Union, Limited, approve of the removal of the head office of the 
Company to Liverpool, and hereby request the directors to make arrange- 
ments for such removal with all convenient speed, having regard to the 
exigencies of the business of the Company and the personal convenience of 
the existing directors. . ." In London you have practically no export trade, 
you export 3,000 tons only, against 600,000 tons from Liverpool. Your local 
trade in London is a large one, but that is not a matter which requires the 
very careful attention of a board of directors, because the Salt Union has com- 
petent managers in London to look after that branch of the business. I 
would recall to you the fact that has been so often referred to, that the Salt 
Union in its early days was practically a monopoly, at least it had a monopoly 
of the salt business in the Cheshire district. That, unfortunately, is not the 
case to-day. In the other days you had salt men and other gentlemen from 
that district sitting on the London Board, who looked after things, and 
whether they are responsible for the present unfortunate position of the Salt 
Union or not, I will leave you to judge from the Chairman's remarks to-day. 
Now that our business is no longer a monopoly, and where we have the bulk 
of our competitors in Liverpool, it is most desirable, I think, to have a Board 
there who shall watch that business from day to day, because it is not without 
closely watching this business that we are ever going to recover the ground 
we have lost. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 139 

A HUMBLE SUPPORTER. 

Mr. Frederick Walker : Will you allow me, as a very humble member of 
the Salt Union, but as occupying the position of being secretary to Mr. 
McDowell's committee, to put before you one or two matters in support of 
this resolution which Mr. McDowell's native modesty prevents his doing ? 
One of those things is this, that we perfectly well know that our trade has 
gone down " bump," as we say up Cheshire way, but there is one branch of 
our trade, a branch which has not been referred to with as much generosity 
as I could wish by a gentleman I see before me, a gentleman from Cheshire. 
It is that branch that has been managed by Mr. McDowell himself, that is to 
say, the agency in connection with America. We all know that one of the 
effects of the untoward policy which was adopted at the dictation of Sir 
Joseph Verdin, the policy of putting up the price of that necessity of life, 
salt, to such an extent as made it profitable for every man in every part of 
the country to sink for salt, was to bring up a large and severe competition 
from America. There is salt produced in America cheaper than we can 
produce it, and probably cheaper than we ever shall be able to produce it, 
and yet in spite of all that Mr. McDowell started his agency with an output 
of 15,000 tons, and he is now selling 60,000 tons a year for the benefit of this 
Salt Union. . . . Why, gentlemen, it is preposterous nonsense to talk about 
adjourning this thing in order to enable Sir Joseph Verdin, or some of his 
friends, or Dr. McDougall, to get up some opposition. I tell you we have 
got men on our committee that you ought to be proud to have to lead you 
in this matter, men who are strong, men of character, men who have large 
stakes in the Company, men like Mr. McDowell, Mr. Royden and Mr. Hunter. 

ONE CHANCE TO SAVE THE COMPANY. 

Are you going to throw over the chance of getting them to come to your 
assistance ? . . . We have one chance to save this Company, and to benefit by 
that chance we must all pull together. It must be a long pull and a strong 
pull and a pull all together. If we do that it may be possible to pull this 
Company out of the wreck into which it has come ; it may be possible never 
indeed to get back to the hope held out in the prospectus, when the share- 
holders put down their money, but we may be able to get back to a moderate 
degree of prosperity, in which it may be possible for the ordinary shareholders 
of the Company to get within sight of a dividend. I urge you, gentlemen, 
I urge you with all my heart, to support the proposal which has been put 
before you by strong men, and good men, and honest men, and I ask you 
unanimously to support that. Whichever way you vote, it must be carried 
to-day that the business of the Company should go to Liverpool. Face the 
fact that you must not be beaten to-day, and come forward and let us have 
complete unanimity. This Company was started as a Union, and it never 
yet has been a Union. It has been a standard of war, it has been a standard 
of disunion throughout the length and breadth of the salt trade. Do for one 
instant all pull together, do for one instant sink your petty differences, do 

M 



, 4 o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

for one instant sink your petty rivalries, and pull all together for the benefit 
and advantage of the Salt Union, Limited. 

IMPLIED CENSURE ON LONDON DIRECTORS. 

Mr. Keen : I should just like to ask the last speaker, after one of the most 
pleasant speeches I ever heard in my life, how many shares he has. I have 
been informed the last speaker holds fifty shares in this Company, and he 
got them last October at 2 each. 

Mr. Cooke : Before the resolution is put, although many of us may 
think it may be advisable ultimately to remove the offices of this Company 
to Liverpool or Cheshire, in the same way as the large firm of Brunner, Mond 
& Co. have their head office at Northwich, where their large works are, still 
at the same time there has been something said which almost compels one 
to vote against it, simply because it implies to a certain extent a vote of 
censure upon the London directors. 

Mr. McDowell : No, no. 

Mr. Cooke : I therefore submit that it would be the most gentlemanly 
and dignified course for this meeting to vote against it, although we may be 
outvoted on the question of proxy. We should then, at any rate, have shown 
that we disapprove of the tactics that have been adopted. We should show, 
at any rate, that we believe in the sincerity and honour of the directors, and 
we should have expressed ourselves as strongly as we can do that we wish them 
to retain their offices. I also wish to clear up one point. I was not the first 
person to mention Sir Joseph Verdin's name. Sir Joseph Verdin has no 
anxiety and no wish to do anything in connection with this Company unless 
there is a desire that he should give his assistance. If he gave his assistance 
it would be simply free and gratis, and with a view to help the Company by 
any advice he could give. He has never sought to interview any share- 
holder upon the matter. He was the representative of the largest firm of 
salt manufacturers in existence before the Salt Union was formed. He had 
no intention that his name should be mentioned to-day ; he has no desire 
to influence anyone with reference to it. His name has been mentioned, but 
it was only with a view of conveying to the meeting that if he could be of 
any assistance to the London directors he himself would have been pleased 
to have done anything he could do, rather than that the Company should 
get into hands where probably the results may, as I have already said, be 
disastrous. I therefore hope this meeting will vote against the resolution, 
for the purpose of affirming our honest desire that the directors should 
continue in office. 

The resolution was put to the meeting and declared lost. 

APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE CONFIRMED. 

Mr. Archibald Coghill : I have great pleasure in proposing, " That this 
meeting confirms the appointment of the committee appointed at the meeting 
of large shareholders held at the Institute of Chartered Accountants on the 
28th January, 1898, to approach the directors in a friendly spirit and to take 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 141 

such steps as they might think advisable with the view of improving the 
management and prospects of the Company's business, and instructs such 
committee to use its best endeavours to strengthen the Board of Directors." 
At this late hour I do not wish to make any speech. We have heard a good 
deal this afternoon which will probably enlighten us. I may say that I am 
not connected with the salt trade. I am unfortunately a shareholder, and 
it is one of the worst investments I have ever put my money into. I should 
like to say one word with regard to the remark which fell from Mr. Mills. 
If he thinks the 7 per cent, preference shareholders are going to allow their 
dividends to be knocked down to 5 per cent., without a quid pro quo, he will 
find himself very much mistaken. 

The Hon. C. W. Mills : I have no such faith in human nature, sir. 

Mr. J. Coghill : I beg to second the resolution. 

Mr. Giles : Before the resolution is put, I should like to ask whether the 
self-elected committee will be able to use proxies in their own favour or not ? 

Mr. Crisp : Yes. 

Mr. McDowell : Decidedly they will. 

Mr. Giles : Then I would ask another question. Are they willing to have 
another name added to that committee ? 

Dr. McDougall : Will Mr. McDowell be willing for two or three nominees 
to be added to the committee. 

Mr. Walker : Allow me to say, as secretary of the committee, that in 
view of the attitude that has been taken up towards the committee by the 
gentlemen who have spoken at this meeting no, sir, we will not accept any 
nominees of Dr. McDougall. 

Dr. McDougall : I think it only fair to say that in mentioning the name 
of Sir Joseph Verdin I do so in all sincerity. I have not seen that gentleman 
for several years, but it was hinted to me, and I believe very largely hinted 
to me, and referred to in the North of England, where the shares of the 
Company are held, that Sir Joseph Verdin's name, and his present disin- 
terestedness, may be a source of strength to the committee in helping to 
formulate a Board of Management. I deeply regret that the name of Sir 
Joseph Verdin, who has done so much for Cheshire 

Mr. Walker : He has not done so much for the Salt Union. 

Dr. McDougall : And so much for Northwich, should be bandied about so 
much as it has been. 

Mr. Walker : You mentioned it. 

MUTUAL COURTESIES. 

Dr. McDougall : I mentioned it because I thought it would be acceptable. 
I do not think it is either gentlemanly or fair to refer to the past in the way 
it has been with regard to Sir Joseph Verdin. Everyone knows that if the 
history of this Company had to be written a great deal might be said that 
has been left unsaid. I personally happen to know a great deal more of the 



142 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

matter than I care to relate at the present time, but I will say this : had I 
known what I do now. I should not have invested one shilling in the Company. 
I apologise to Sir Joseph Verdin for mentioning his name. . . . 

I beg to move that a ' cordial vote of thanks be given to you, sir, and 
your Board of Directors, for your very arduous and very disagreeable 
work. 

Mr. McDowell : Mr. Chairman, I have much pleasure in seconding that 
vote of thanks, and on behalf of my colleagues and myself I would like to 
thank you for the great courtesy you have extended to us. 

The Chairman : I will just thank you for your kind expressions of 
sympathy, and, after all, if there have been a good many hard words, and a 
good deal of squabbling has been going on this afternoon, we must all 
recognise that we have all been animated by one feeling, and that is, what 
will be the best for the Union. Some think one plan is best, and some think 
another, but that is the object we have all had in view. I hope we have 
taken the right course to-day, at all events that something will work to the 
benefit of the Salt Union, and that we shall look back to this meeting as being 
perhaps the lowest ebb at which the fortunes of the Salt Union have arrived ,. 
and that there will be some improvement afterwards. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 143 

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF SHAREHOLDERS 
APPOINTED AT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF 
THE COMPANY, HELD ON THE 28ra FEBRUARY, 1898. 

To THE SHAREHOLDERS OF THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, 

It will be within your recollection that at the Annual General Meeting 
of the Company, held at Winchester House, London, on the 28th February, 
1898, resolutions were passed approving the removal of the Head Office of 
the Company from London to Liverpool, and appointing the undersigned, 
who hold more than 10,000 shares in the Company, a Committee to approach 
the directors in a friendly spirit, and to take such steps as they might think 
advisable with a view of improving the management and prospects of the 
Company's business, and the Committee were instructed to use their best 
endeavours to strengthen the Board of Directors. 

Upon their appointment the Committee at once placed themselves in 
friendly communication with the Board of Directors. In view of the removal 
of the Company's Head Office to Liverpool, several of the present directors 
came to the conclusion that it would not be convenient for them to retain 
their seats on the Board, though for the good of the Company they have 
consented to do so pending the appointment of new directors in their place. 

The Committee are of opinion that it is of great importance in the 
interests of the Company that the new Board should chiefly consist of 
gentlemen of commercial experience, prepared to give the necessary time and 
attention to the Company's affairs, and they consider they are fortunate in 
having induced the following well-known local gentlemen to consent to act 
as directors, if elected : 

Mr. William Harvey Alexander (Messrs. John Rew & Co.), Merchant, 
Liverpool. 

Mr. George Henry Cox, Liverpool, Vice-President of the Liverpool 
Chamber of Commerce. 

Mr. John Holt, Merchant, Liverpool, Chairman of John Holt & Co. 
(Liverpool), Limited, and Chairman of the Wirral Waterworks 
Company, and of the West Cheshire Water Company. 

Mr. Archibald Roxburgh (Messrs. Cockbain, Allardice & Co.), Merchant, 
Liverpool. 

Mr. Thomas Bland Royden, J.P., Shipowner, Liverpool, Director of the 
Union Marine Insurance Company, late M.P. for Liverpool. 

The Committee are pleased to state that Mr. Herman John Falk and Mr. 
Thomas Ward, who have been associated with the Company from its com- 
mencement, will retain their seats on the Board. 



144 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



The Committee firmly believe that, while the new Board will have to 
contend with many and serious difficulties, their commercial standing and 
experience will enable them within a reasonable period to bring about an 
improvement in the position and prospects of the Company. They therefore 
cordially recommend these gentlemen for election by the shareholders. 

The Committee are authorised by the present directors to state that 
these gentlemen are unanimously approved by them. 

An Extraordinary General Meeting of the Company will be held at 
Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London, E.G., on Thursday, the 28th 
April, 1898, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when the gentlemen above named 
will be proposed for election as Directors. We enclose a form of proxy, 
which we shall be glad if you will kindly sign and return at your early 
convenience. 

In conclusion, the Committee desire to express their thanks to the 
present directors for the friendly spirit in which they have met them 
throughout the negotiations. 

We are. Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Yours truly, 

WM. s. MCDOWELL, 

Chairman of the Committee. 
]. W. BRETT, 
EDWARD EDMOXDSON, 
JAMES HEAD, \. 

J. B. HUNTER, 
T. B. ROYDEN, 
FREDERICK WALKER, 

Secretary of the Committee. 

34, COLEMAN STREET, LONDON, E.G., 
April 6th, 1898. 

P-S. The recommendations of the Committee are heartily endorsed by 
the following large and influential shareholders, each of whom has nominated 
as directors the five gentlemen whose names are given in the foregoing 
report : 

THOMAS H. ISMAY, J.P., D.L., Liverpool 

JAMES K. CAIRO, Dundee , 

HERBERT WORTHINGTON, Berriew, Montgomery- 
shire 

JAMES S. BUDGETT, Stoke Park, Guildford 
JAMES SMITH, Liverpool 
F. W. REYNOLDS, Liverpool 

and many other Shareholders. 



Committee of 

Shareholders of 

The Salt Union, Limited. 



1,000 Shares 
4,100 ,, 

4.050 

2,020 ,, 

520 

390 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 145 

LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE OF THE SALT 
UNION SHAREHOLDERS' ASSOCIATION. 

Important and Urgent. 

April, 1898. 

To THE SHAREHOLDERS OF THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

You will now or very shortly receive a notice convening a meeting of 
the Shareholders to appoint new directors. We are therefore anxious that 
the following facts should be fully considered by you. 

1 . We think it of the utmost importance you should attend such meeting 
personally, as if certain suggested changes are made, we are of opinion that 
they will prove disastrous to the best interests of the Company. 

2. If you cannot do so we respectfully advise that you do not without 
full enquiry sign any proxy-form in favour of Mr. McDowell or his nominees. 
If you have already signed such proxy under any misapprehension, we trust 
you will cancel it and communicate with us. We would point out that Mr. 
McDowell used the proxies entrusted to him at the last meeting entirely 
against the sense and views of the large number of shareholders present at 
such meeting, and that on each and every occasion his proposals were 
defeated by the votes of those personally present at the meeting and who 
heard the chairman's speech. 

3. We adopt that course for the following reasons : 

(a) The large and important question of the policy to be adopted in 
future and of the management of the Company's business has not 
yet been laid before the shareholders. Their attention has only 
been drawn to the advisability of a change of Head Office from 
London to Liverpool and of the appointment of some new 
directors. We think that before making up their minds as to 
the constitution of the Board the shareholders would do well to 
hear the larger question discussed and to obtain if possible an 
authoritative expression of opinion from the Board. On the 
policy now to be adopted all the future prospects of the Company 
will in our opinion depend. 

(6) As to the question of the Head Office, we would point out that 
Liverpool is now, and for many years past has been, the head 
trading office of the Company, there being at Liverpool nine times 
larger a staff than in London. 



I 4 6 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

(e) We think that it would be very injurious to the interests of the 
Company if the four London directors were to leave the Board 
immediately on the appointment of new directors. The gentle- 
men now on the Board are intimately acquainted with the affairs 
of the Company, and should not, in our opinion, be relieved 
immediately of all responsibility. In the present critical state 
of affairs the shareholders have a right to look to them for 
guidance and assistance. Should the London directors decide to 
withdraw from the Board we think that they should arrange to 
give their services at any rate for a limited period. 

(d) Mr. McDowell has been repeatedly offered a seat on the Board, but 

he declines this: 

(e) Mr. McDowell has a dual interest : he is not only a large share- 

holder (such shares having been largely acquired on the sale to 
the Company of his father's works) but under a covenant with 
the Company he receives a very large commission (estimated at 
^1,000 per annum) on the sale of salt sent to America. He or 
his agent is therefore a large purchaser of salt from the Company ; 
we therefore do not think it wise that Mr. McDowell should have 
on the Board of Directors a majority of his nominees to sell and 
fix the price of salt to him as a Commission Agent. Under such 
a proposal Mr. McDowell would for all practical purposes be 
both seller and buyer. 

(/) Mr. McDowell has no new policy to submit to the shareholders except 
the change of office, and that has practically been in force for 
some time past. 

4. We have no personal feeling against Mr. McDowell ; he has a right, 
as a business man, to do the best for himself, but the interests of the Company 
must not be jeopardized by entrusting the entire control to a body of directors 
nominated by him. We have endeavoured to approach him in a friendly 
way with a view of agreeing to proposed names, but he now declines all 
negotiations and wishes to nominate the whole body of directors. 

5. We quite agree that it would be to the interests of the Company that 
the chief offices of the Company should be in Liverpool, and that the 
directors should arrange for Board and Committee meetings to be held in 
Liverpool or Cheshire, as also in London (so long as the London directors 
retain their seats) , and we fully believe such an arrangement is quite practic- 
able and can be carried out. 

6. We believe that if the Company is placed on a sound financial basis, 
if further economies are carried out, and a strong body of honourable and 
disinterested directors selected, the Salt Union has a successful future in view. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 147 

7. We are strongly of opinion for the reasons given above that any 
proposal to be brought forward by Mr. McDowell, which may be antagonistic 
to the best interests of the Company, or which give him a control of the Board 
of Directors, should be strenuously opposed by the shareholders, and in the 
event of a rejection of these proposals and of the retirement, whether imme- 
diately or after a limited period, of the London directors, we should recom- 
mend the appointment by the shareholders of a strong Committee for the 
purpose of conferring with the directors as to the future policy of the Com- 
pany, and of submitting a scheme embracing names of new or additional 
directors possessing the confidence of the Company. For this purpose, if 
you cannot possibly attend the meeting personally, we should thank you to 
fill up the enclosed proxy-form, and return it without delay. 

F. McDouGALL, Chairman. 

E. G. JENKINSON, 

GEORGE OKELL, Committee 



ISAAC PARISH, 
J. P. SWANWICK, 
W. B. JEFFRIES, 
T. B. MORETON, 

Communications should be addressed to 



of Salt Union 
Shareholders' 
Association. 



F. MCDOUGALL, Esq., F.R.C.S., 

Chairman of Salt Union Shareholders' Association, 
Winsford, Cheshire. 



I4 8 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

COMMITTEE OF SHAREHOLDERS v. THE SHARE- 
HOLDERS' ASSOCIATION. 

Reprinted from " The Financial News." Friday, April itfh, 1898. 

To the surprise of every well-wisher of the Salt Union, opposition is being 
offered to the proposals made by the Committee of Shareholders appointed 
at the Annual Meeting on February 28th. The Committee was charged to 
take such steps as might seem advisable to improve the management and 
prospects of the Company, and, after due consideration, its seven members 
came unanimously to the conclusion that, in the interests of the Union, the 
Board " should chiefly consist of gentlemen of commercial experience, pre- 
pared to give the necessary time and attention to the Company's affairs." 
To that end five well-known Liverpool gentlemen were invited to join the 
Board, serving with two of the original directors. The Committee did not 
imagine that prosperity would smile at once on the Salt Union merely 
because the Board was reorganised, but expressed the belief that, while the 
directors would " have to contend with many and serious difficulties, their 
commercial standing and experience will enable them within a reasonable 
period to bring about an improvement in the position and prospects of the 
Company." Sensible shareholders have a natural suspicion of a committee 
which makes heroic proposals, and guarantees them to work wonders within 
a week or two. In this case the proposals are of the most unpretentious 
nature. The Committee recognises the difficulties of the situation, and, 
instead of suggesting panaceas of its own, recommends the shareholders to 
entrust their property to the administration of careful and capable men who 
live near the principal sphere of the Company's operations. Direct and con- 
tinuous supervision by a Board such as is in contemplation is a much more 
likely remedy for the ills that have befallen the Salt Union than the familiar 
process of turning the Company's history inside out and disorganising its 
business while the staff is engaged in furnishing materials for a report by a 
committee which confounds sensation-mongering with reform. The Salt 
Union Committee has done quite the right thing in the right way, and we expect 
its advice to be adopted by an overwhelming majority of the proprietors. 

Whence comes the discordant note of objection ? It proceeds from a 
" Salt Union Shareholders' Association," with headquarters at Winsford, in 
Cheshire. Before this body issued a circular in opposition to the proposals 
of the recognised Shareholders' Committee it was totally unknown. On 
inquiry, we ascertain that some years ago some such body brought itself to 
the notice of the Salt Union directors ; but as information as to its con- 
stitution and the source of its authority was withheld, no notice was taken 
of it. The committee which signs the Association's circular consists of 
seven gentlemen, three of them local doctors, two local farmers, Sir E. G. 
Jenkinson, and Mr. W. B. Jeffries. The two last-named relieve the 
Association of its purely Cheshire character, but neither of them has a stake 
of material size in the Salt Union. Mr. W. B. Jeffries, who holds ten Ordinary 
and ten Preference shares, will be recognised as a former stormy petrel at 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 149 

Grand Trunk meetings, and as a director of several mining enterprises which 
have made no mark. These seven gentlemen, under the leadership of Mr. 
Finlay McDougall, F.R.C.S., have taken the floor against the proposals of 
the Shareholders' Committee, alleging that " they will prove disastrous to 
the best interests of the Company." As the one essential proposal is for 
more close and competent supervision of the Salt Union's business, this one 
sentence in the self-appointed Association's circular stamps the opposition 
as foolish and factious. The document goes on to advise the shareholders 
that they should not, " without full inquiry, sign any proxy form in favour 
of Mr. McDowell or his nominees." Here the Association shows itself as 
impertinent as it is ill-informed. The five independent gentlemen who are 
called Mr. McDowell's " nominees " are not proposed for the Board by Mr. 
McDowell or his colleagues on the Committee, but by a group of shareholders 
holding 11,260 Ordinary and 5,188 Preference shares and ^14,120 in deben- 
tures. They are supported by the Committee, which holds 8,282 Ordinary 
and 1,715 Preference shares, and are unanimously approved by the existing 
directors. To style them the " nominees " of one member of the Committee 
is an insult at once to the proposed directors and to Mr. McDowell's colleagues 
on the Committee, whom we do not take to be men likely to make their 
opinions and actions subservient to the behests of one of their number. 

The designation of the proposed directors as " Mr. McDowell's 
nominees " is essential to the " Association's " plan of campaign. As there 
is no rational ground for opposition to the Committee's recommendations, and 
no room for criticism of the five gentlemen nominated for the Board, the only 
resource left to the " Association " is to make a personal attack on Mr. 
McDowell, chairman of the Committee. One point of the indictment of the 
report is that " Mr. McDowell has been repeatedly offered a seat on the 
Board, but he declines this." This is the first time we have seen a man's 
fairness challenged on such grounds. Mr. McDowell is a salt distributor, 
and as such has business relations with the Union. These, the " Associa- 
tion " estimates, bring him in ^1,000 a year, and on that assumption thinks 
it unwise " that Mr. McDowell should have on the Board of Directors a 
majority of his nominees to fix the price of salt to him as a commission agent." 
This, then, is the whole basis of the opposition, and, considering the standing 
and character of the Committee, of the nominators of the five proposed 
directors, and of these gentlemen themselves, it is hardly necessary to say 
more of the movement which thus reveals its purpose and its bias. The 
circular winds up with a recommendation to the shareholders to appoint " a 
strong committee " which should bring about a public declaration of the 
policy to be adopted by the Salt Union and nominate new directors. The 
policy of a trading company, which must vary from time to time, is not 
easily set forth, and even could it be reduced to a formula, the publication 
could hardly fail to be injurious to the Company's interests. What sort of 
a policy the " Association " wants it is difficult to ascertain from the nomina- 
tions for the Board made by Dr. McDougall and his associates. They have 
put forward Sir E. G. Jenkinson, who is a director of the Manchester Ship 
Canal, Mr. Robert Hickson, and Mr. Thomas Rayner, both divisional 



I 5 o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

managers in the employment of the Salt Union. They have also nominated 
but. as we understand, too late to conform with the article of association 
governing the election of directors, Mr. John M. Fells, general manager of 
the Union, and Mr. John Whitehead, a colliery proprietor. Against none of 
these gentlemen can anything be said ; but we should be astonished were 
the shareholders to agree to give a large measure of control of the business 
to managers whose function it is to carry out the policy of the Board. The 
selection of Salt Union managers as candidates for the Board looks like an 
endeavour to obtain support for the " Shareholders' Association " as the 
advocate of practical administration. 

So feeble is the case made by the " Shareholders' Association " against 
the proposals of the responsible Committee that we are compelled to look 
for some occult reason for the opposition. Probably it is to be found in Dr. 
McDougall's undisguised affection for Sir Joseph Verdin and his following 
in the Salt Union. Now, it is hardly denied that the Verdin influence was 
responsible for the high prices charged by the Union in its early days a 
policy which developed strenuous competition and led to the difficulties 
against which the Union has struggled ever since. This alone should make 
the shareholders chary of supporting any movement in the interest of restoring 
Sir Joseph Yerdin to the Board. It is the fact, we believe, that after giving 
an undertaking not to sell his vendors' shares for a year, Sir Joseph within 
six months asked his co-directors to consent to his selling them at once, so 
as to buy a salt property which would be beneficial to the Union. The con- 
sent was given, the shares were sold, and the property bought. Then the 
Board was asked to pay a substantial annual retaining fee, so that the pro- 
perty might be kept out of competition with the Union. This was agreed 
to, and the fee is still paid some ^700 a year. Furthermore, when the 
Verdin salt-distributing agency was sold to the Union, on the understanding 
that the business would be discontinued, it was kept alive, in competition 
with the Union, in the name of a relative of the Verdin family. These facts, 
which can be verified, explain the repugnance which all who wish to see the 
Salt Union do well feel towards any effort, open or disguised, to restore the 
Verdin influence in the counsels of the Company. Let the shareholders not 
be misled by the shallow opinions they are not arguments, still less reasons 
of the self-begotten " Shareholders' Association," whose spokesmen hold 
only 1,115 Ordinary and no Preference shares, and ^3,100 in debentures. 
We do not believe in measuring a shareholders' right to stand up for his 
interests by the size of his holding ; but a little local clique which arrogates 
to itself the right to speak for shareholders at large has need to be put in its 
proper place and at its due valuation. Its members speak for themselves 
and for themselves only, while the Committee appointed at the general 
meeting has the support of a very large and influential body of proprietors. 
That its sound and reasonable proposals will be almost unanimously agreed 
to at the meeting on the 28th instant we have no doubt. Only those who 
prefer to make the situation of the Salt Union worse by prolonged wrangling 
will try to deprive the Company of the prospect of recuperation offered by 
the speedy election of a Board of strong and independent business men. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 151 

SIR JOSEPH VERDIN'S STATEMENT OF FACTS. 

Reprinted from " The Financial News " of 2Oth April, 1898. 

THE SALT UNION. 
To the Editor of The Financial News. 

Sir, My attention has been called to a leading article in your issue of 
the 1 5th inst., on the above company. With that part of it relating to the 
formation of a new board of directors I am not concerned, as I am neither a 
candidate for a seat on the Board, nor have I given anyone authority to use 
my name in connection therewith. But there is a portion of your article 
which is calculated to mislead the public, though, no doubt, unintentionally 
on your part. I will state the bare facts. 

Immediately after the formation of the Salt Union, and not six months 
afterwards, I pointed out to the directors that it was essential for the interests 
of the Company that the Wimboldsley Estate should be bought, as it had 
railway and water communications, and I believed (and still believe) the 
chief sources of the brine supply of Winsford were there. It was not con- 
venient for the Company to buy, and I purchased the property. Within 
three months of the signing of the agreement, and before the estate had been 
transferred, I refused to discuss a proposal to resell the property at a price 
which would have left me a profit of 40,000, and a second one, which would 
have left 55,000, thus proving conclusively how necessary it was for the 
purchase to be made at once. But, notwithstanding my large outlay and the 
profit I had refused, I never asked the Salt Union to pay me one penny as a 
retaining fee during the time I remained a director of the Company. In 
1892 the present directors approached me as to the transference of my dis- 
tributing business and the retention of the Wimboldsley Estate on payment 
of a fee. The first advance came from them, and even after the preliminaries 
had been settled I gave them an opportunity of withdrawing if they wished 
to do so. The first retaining fee was paid in May, 1894, nearly three years 
after I had ceased to be a director of the Company, and thus for six years the 
Salt Union had been protected at its weakest point at my expense and without 
the outlay of one coin of their own. It yields me to-day, including the retain- 
ing fee, about 2 per cent, per annum on my outlay in respect of this property. 

As regards Verdin Brothers' Distributing Agency, the Company trades 
in that name, and has done so since 1892. I have no interest in it (except 
as a shareholder of the Company), nor in any other salt agency or business, 
either present or prospective, and I must therefore repudiate your insinuation 
that any such business is being conducted for my benefit or in violation of 
the terms of agreement. On the contrary, I hold letters from the directors 
thanking me in the warmest terms for the generous manner in which I had 
dealt with the Company. 

I am, your obedient servant, 

JOSEPH VERDIN. 
The Brockhurst, Northwich, April i6th. 



1 5 2 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



LETTER FROM THE SALT UNION SHAREHOLDERS' 
ASSOCIATION. 

Important and Urgent. 

WINSFORD, CHESHIRE, 

22nd April, 1898. 
To THE SHAREHOLDERS OF THE SALT UNION, LTD. 

On behalf of the Salt Union Shareholders' Association, of which I am the 
Chairman, I find it necessary to refer to the reprint of the article from the 
Financial News of Friday, April isth, which appears to have been sent to 
each shareholder. 

Certain information appears to have been given to this paper, but a 
good part of the truth respecting the matters referred to has been suppressed. 
On some future occasion we may find it necessary to enquire as to the source 
from which the information has been obtained, and why the whole truth 
has not been given. We should, however, point out that Mr. Head, who is 
one of Mr. McDowell's Committee, is also Chairman of the Financial News 
Co., Limited, and the article therefore cannot be considered to be written 
without some bias. 

First, as to the appointment of Mr. McDowell's Committee, that Com- 
mittee was appointed at the annual meeting held on the 28th February, but 
the appointment was almost entirely made by Mr. McDowell with the proxies 
entrusted to him. The Chairman declared that the majority of those persons 
present (probably about 200) had voted against the appointment. The 
article then goes on to say that five Liverpool gentlemen have been invited 
by Mr. McDowell's Committee to join the Board. The further information 
might have been given that none of these five gentlemen have had any 
experience whatever in connection with the salt trade. Some of them are 
connected with cotton, others with shipping, but not one of them know 
anything at all about the manufacture of salt. It should further be stated 
that of these five gentlemen one of them had not a single share in the 
Company until about a fortnight ago, but qualified himself by purchasing 
100 Ordinary shares, sold on the market at about i 153. per share. Another 
of these gentlemen has not got a single share in the Company at the present 
moment, unless his transfer has been registered within the last two or three 
days. A third is Chairman of a Company (not the Lagos Salt Company) 
which buys and exports salt to South Africa. It is therefore evident that if 
he is also to be a director of the Salt Union, he will, like Mr. McDowell, have 
a dual interest, that is to say : he would be a director of a Company which 
manufactures and sells salt, and a director of a Company which buys salt. 
It remains for him to say how he could properly discharge the two duties, 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 153 

giving satisfaction to both sets of shareholders. Such an appointment would 
doubtless be regarded unfavourably by other buyers of salt for Africa who 
are competitors with the gentlemen nominated and who would probably, 
as business men, give their orders to salt manufacturers outside the Salt 
Union, and an intimation to this effect has been received by me as Chairman 
of this Association. 

As to this Association, its strength is not determined by the number of 
shares held by those who have signed the circular, although these would bear 
a much superior comparison with the names of the gentlemen recommended 
by Mr. McDowell's Committee, as being suitable for the office of director of 
the Company. 

The nominations for the office of director which have been put in on 
behalf of this Association are as follows : 

1. Sir EDWARD G. JENKINSON, K.C.B. 

2. Mr. THOMAS RAYNER, who holds 500 shares in the Company. 

3. Mr. ROBERT HICKSON, who has 535 shares in the Company. 

4. Mr. JOHN WHITEHEAD, of the Duxbury Park Colliery, a gentleman 

of position who has plenty of time to give to the office of Director, 
and has also been for some time the holder of 500 shares in the 
Company. 

There has also been a nomination by a gentleman who is not a member 
of this Association, but who holds 600 shares, viz. : 

Mr. J. M. FELLS, the general manager of the Company, who himself is 
the owner of 345 shares in the Company. 

Of the above, Mr. Thomas Rayner and Mr. Robert Hickson have had the 
experience of a lifetime in the management and conduct of salt works. Mr. 
Fells has had nearly ten years' experience in the detailed work of this 
Comparfy. It must be borne in mind that it is evident that it has been part 
of the policy of the directors latterly to reduce prices, with a view of 
facilitating to an amicable arrangement and understanding with the outside 
salt proprietors, so that it appears to us that the very fact of a small dividend 
being paid this year may be a considerable advantage to the Salt Union in 
future years. 

Those of us who are resident in the salt district have had conversations 
with competing salt manufacturers, and believe that a working arrangement 
could now be made with them if the changes in the constitution of the new 
Board of Directors were in the nature of gradual reform rather than sudden 
revolution. 

The article in the Financial News appears to imply that this Association 
is guided by and acting in the interests of Sir Joseph Verdin, Bart. This is 
absolutely untrue. Whilst we have great respect for the business ability and 
knowledge of Sir Joseph Verdin, which built up the largest and most 



, 54 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

successful business in the salt trade, we are well aware that his health and 
other engagements would prevent him from accepting a seat on the Board. 
As to the personal attacks made upon Sir Joseph Verdin we have no concern, 
and are confident such makers can be best dealt with by Sir Joseph himself. 

It may however be asked, why does this Association take such an active 
interest in the nomination of the directors at the proposed Meeting on the 
28th instant ? When you are proposing to elect trustees or directors of capital 
involving four millions of money, every shareholder has a right to have a 
voice in the election, and to see that the very best men are appointed to 
whom the estate is to be entrusted, and we deny the right of Mr. McDowell 
or his Committee, appointed by the proxies which they themselves obtained 
on another issue altogether, viz. : the issue of whether the head office should 
be at London or Liverpool, to assume that all the powers of the Company 
are to be vested in him or his Committee, to elect the directors. We do not 
assume such a responsible position even for this Association, and some ten 
days ago a letter was addressed to Mr. Walker, the Secretary of Mr. 
McDowell's Committee, suggesting that a friendly compromise should be 
arrived at, and that this Association should nominate two of the proposed 
five new directors, Mr. McDowell's Committee should nominate two others, 
and that the fifth gentleman should be one suitable for chairman, and should 
be appointed jointly by this Association and Mr. McDowell's Committee. This 
fair and reasonable offer has not been accepted up to the present, and, so 
far as we are concerned, it is still open. 

Even if this Association were strong enough to appoint the whole of the 
directors which we believe it is or will be the responsibility will be too 
great and serious, and we should much prefer that Mr. McDowell's Com- 
mittee should accept the terms which have been offered to them, because we 
are anxious to have a Board of Directors representative of all the shareholders. 
We are also anxious to have practical men appointed, who will know what 
they are doing, and what they have to carry out. 

//, therefore, you have not sent in the proxy in favour of Sir Edward G. 
Jenkinson, K.C.B., we trust you will do so at once and by the next post. If you 
have signed a proxy in favour of Mr. McDowell's Committee, we enclose you 
herewith a form to cancel such proxy, and should be glad if you would also 
return that. We give you this assurance that the proxy will only be used 
for the purpose of carrying out, as far as possible, the lines suggested in this 
circular. Considering the newspaper reports which have been issued (many 
of which are not to be relied on), we must ask you to place some credence on 
the statements we have made, and to assure you that we are only actuated 
by a desire to promote the best interests of the Company, and this in our 
opinion can be best done by the course we have suggested. 

F. McDOUGALL, 
Chairman Salt Union Shareholders' Association. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 155 



LETTER FROM THE SHAREHOLDERS' COMMITTEE. 

DEAR SIR OR MADAM, 

You will doubtless have received a circular, dated 22nd April, from Dr. 
McDougall, urging you to revoke the proxy with which you have entrusted 
the Shareholders' Committee, and to give your proxy to his Association, 
particularly on the following grounds : 

1 . That the five gentlemen who have consented at the request of my 
Committee to join the Board are not already connected with salt. 

2. That one of them had not a single share in the Company until 
about a fortnight ago, and another has not a single share at the present 
moment. 

3. That a third is Chairman of a Company (not the Lagos Salt Co.), 
which buys and exports salt to South Africa, and that he would therefore 
have a dual interest on the Board. 

I answer these points seriatim. 

1. At the present time the Salt Union is making as good salt as it 
ever made, probably the best salt in the world, at an initial cost which 
is not excessive. The reform which is required in the Salt Union is not 
in its manufacturing, but in its commercial management. The Union 
can make salt, but its power to sell it is constantly decreasing, and the 
mandate from the shareholders to my Committee was, therefore, to get 
on the Board good commercial men. In this we have been absolutely 
successful ; we have succeeded in bringing forward men of the highest 
commercial standing, some of whom have been unsuccessfully approached 
on previous occasions. 

2. The fact that one or two of the very pick of the men selected had 
no previous interest in the Salt Union, places, we venture to think, our 
success in the strongest possible light. To induce men who were already 
heavily involved in the misfortunes of the Company to come forward 
was manifestly not so difficult as to get absolutely independent men to 
interest themselves in a failing business, with which they were not pre- 
viously connected. Our policy has been to get the best possible men, 
whether shareholders or not. 

3. This is an amended attempt by Mr. McDougall to attack Mr. 
John Holt probably the most resolute reformer we have succeeded in 
bringing forward. The last statement by Dr. McDougall (in his letter 
to The Financial News) was, that Mr. Holt was Chairman of the Lagos 
Salt Co., which he is now forced to admit is untrue. The facts on which 
the present charge is based have already been stated in Mr. Walker's 

N 



X 5 6 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

letter to The Financial News. Mr. Holt is Chairman of a Company 
which ships merchandise of every kind to Africa, and amongst other 
things a certain quantity of salt, but the salt portion of his business 
only amounts to about one-sixtieth of his whole trade, and it is absurd 
to suggest that this insignificant interest should militate against the 
election as director of one of the most energetic, vigorous and honourable 
commercial men in Liverpool. As has been before stated, the real 
ground of objection to Mr. Holt is the dread that he will reform abuses 
on which some of the supporters of Dr. McDougall's secret association 
are now battening. 

Dr. McDougall rings the changes. First-class commercial men of the 
highest standing are objected to on the ground that they know nothing about 
salt, and Mr. Holt is objected to because a small portion of his trade is in salt. 
What do Sir E. G. Jenkinson and Mr. John Whitehead know about salt ? 
Dr. McDougall does not venture to state that either of them are men of 
commercial standing or experience. 

Although the election of the gentlemen selected by my Committee, and 
nominated by practically all the very large shareholders, is secured, it is of 
the utmost importance that they should be carried by such a commanding 
majority as will amount to practical unanimity, and I therefore urge you 
strongly, if you have not already sent your proxy to my Committee, to sign 
and send it back to me by return of post, and, if you have already sent my 
Committee your proxy, I urge you strongly on no account to cancel it. 

The affairs of the Salt Union are at a critical juncture, and a heavy 
responsibility will rest on all shareholders who throw any difficulties in the 
work of reform which has been initiated, and is now supported by a large 
majority of the shareholders, including those with the largest stake in the 
Company. 

I am, dear Sir or Madam, 

Your obedient Servant, 

WM. s. MCDOWELL, 

Chairman of the Shareholders' Committee duly 
elected at the last Ordinary General Meeting. 

34, COLEMAN STREET, 

LONDON, E.C. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 157 



OFFICIAL NOTICE TO SHAREHOLDERS. 

16, EASTCHEAP, LONDON, E.G., 

25th April, 1898. 
DEAR SIR OR MADAM, 

I am instructed by the Directors to send you the appended Ticket of 
Admission to the EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING to be held at 
WINCHESTER HOUSE, OLD BROAD STREET, LONDON, E.G., on Thursday, 28th 
April instant, at 3 p.m., and to notify you that the following gentlemen have 
been nominated for election as Directors at such Meeting, viz. : 

Mr. WILLIAM HARVEY ALEXANDER (Messrs. John Rew & Co.), Merchant, 
Liverpool. 

Mr. GEORGE HENRY Cox, Liverpool, Vice-President of the Liverpool 
Chamber of Commerce. 

Mr. JOHN HOLT, Merchant, Liverpool, Chairman of John Holt & Co. 
(Liverpool), Limited, and Chairman of the Wirral Waterworks 
Company, and of the West Cheshire Water Company. 

Mr. ARCHIBALD ROXBURGH (Messrs. Cockbain, Allardice & Co.), Merchant, 
Liverpool. 

Mr. THOMAS BLAND ROYDEN, J.P., Shipowner, Liverpool, Director of 
the Union Marine Insurance Company, late M.P. for Liverpool. 

Sir EDWARD G. JENKINSON, K.C.B., of Down Terrace, Richmond, Surrey. 

Mr. THOMAS RAYNER, of Marston, Northwich, Cheshire, Salt Works 
Divisional Manager. 

Mr. ROBERT HICKSON, of Northwich, Cheshire, Salt Works Divisional 
Manager. 

The two following nominations were received too late, under No. 96 of 
the Company's Articles of Association, viz. : 

Mr. JOHN M. FELLS, of Winsford, Cheshire, General Manager. 

Mr. JOHN WHITEHEAD, of Duxbury Park Colliery, Chorley, Lancashire. 
Colliery Proprietor. 

Yours faithfully, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 



i S 8 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING. 

In accordance with the report of the Directors, adopted at the Ninth 
Ordinary General Meeting, on the 28th February last, an Extraordinary 
General Meeting of the Salt Union, Ltd., was held at Winchester House, 
London, on April 28th, 1898, "to receive the report of the Shareholders' 
Committee, to elect directors, and to transact any other business arising 
on such report." The Hon. Lionel Ashley, Chairman of the Board of 
Directors, presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH. 

The Chairman : Our next course will be to proceed as shortly as we can 
to the election of the directors for the vacancies now existing on the Board. 
Before proceeding to their election, I should like to say a very few words to 
you just to dwell upon the position that was taken up and has been main- 
tained by the Board since the Committee was formed. The Committee, 
when they approached the Board, stated their opinion that the management 
of the Company had been defective in the past, and that the remedy in their 
opinion was to bring in several business men from Liverpool and to remove 
the head office to that city. Your directors, while not admitting that the 
former management was to blame, or that the removal was desirable, felt 
that it was very natural that the shareholders should wish for a change of 
government to be tried, and they held that it would be too great a responsi- 
bility on their part were they to use their influence to prevent any change 
taking place. So they gave the Committee a free hand, and remained 
absolutely neutral, giving no opinion as to its proposals, but simply saying 
that if the head office were removed the London directors must retire. 

REMOVAL OF THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. 

The result, as you all know, was that a large majority of votes was 
given for removing the seat of government. Similarly, the directors have 
endeavoured to maintain neutrality so far as the selection of candidates was 
concerned, as they wished the responsibility to rest with the shareholders and 
their representative committees. We have expressed approval of the candi- 
dates nominated by the Shareholders' Committee, as these gentlemen were 
reported to us to be of high standing in Liverpool, and were recommended by 
such well-known men as Mr. Ismay, Mr. Caird, Mr. Worthington, and others 
who are large shareholders. As you are aware, some objection was taken to 
one candidate. Mr. John Holt, on the ground that he held a dual interest as a 
buyer of salt, but we have not considered that objection of sufficient import- 
ance to justify us in withdrawing our approval from the five candidates 
nominated by the Shareholders' Committee. I am sure at the same time 
that we take no objection whatever to the candidates supported by Mr. 
McDougall's Committee, and we have used our best endeavours to bring 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 159 

about an arrangement by which the committees should combine to fill up the 
vacancies by a unanimous vote. That is the only interference we have 
allowed ourselves in these matters, and we regret very much that up to the 
present our efforts have been in vain, for internal dissensions cannot fail to 
injure the Company's welfare. As I told you at the February meeting, the 
London directors retired in consequence of the decision of the shareholders ; 
Lord Hillingdon and Mr. Walter Robinson have already resigned ; Mr. 
Baring-Gould and I were ready to do the same, but at the earnest request 
of the Shareholders' Committee, and in consequence of what was said at the 
last meeting, we have agreed to stay on to the joth June, in order to give the 
new members of the Board time to take up the reins of management. 

ELECTION OF CANDIDATES. 

If our immediate retirement would put an end to dissensions by the share- 
holders' representatives agreeing together to fill up the vacancies with 
candidates of both parties, Mr. Baring-Gould and I should be pleased to retire 
at once ; but I am afraid, from what I hear, there is no chance of that. I 
regret very much that there should be a division, and I should like to urge 
still that you should try and combine, but, if not, what remains now is for 
you to proceed to the election of candidates, and therefore I would call upon 
Mr. McDowell's Committee to move the election of the first candidate. Mr. 
McDowell has not given us the names of the movers of his resolutions. It is 
proposed to take them alphabetically, and I think the first candidate to be 
proposed would be Mr. Alexander. I would propose, if the Committee agree, 
that they should all be separately nominated, that the voting should be taken 
upon each one separately, and when the vote has been finished as regards 
each one, then I should declare to you the result of the voting as to the 
gentlemen who are to fill up the five vacancies. 

SIR EDWARD JENKINSON EXPLAINS. 

Sir Edward G. Jenkinson, K.C.B. : I think, Mr. Chairman, that if you 
will allow me to speak now it will very much shorten our proceedings. I 
wish first to explain to the gentlemen here present the reason that I signed 
the circular and the position I have taken in this matter. At the last meeting, 
you will remember, there was a great deal of deplorable disputing perhaps 
we may call it grumbling and when the circular was brought to me I agreed 
to sign it in the hope that before this meeting we might be able to come to 
some settlement with Mr. McDowell's Committee, in the interests of the 
shareholders. I may say that I have no intention of using the proxies which 
have been given to me for a party. I meant to use them in the best interests 
of the Company, and to this extent should I have gone, that I should not 
have used them to vote against all the members of Mr. McDowell's Com- 
mittee. On the contrary, if we had succeeded in getting a majority of 
proxies, recognising Mr. McDowell's and his colleagues' undoubted right to a 
strong representation on the Board, I should have voted for a majority of 
Mr. McDowell's Committee as members of the Board, asking him to put two 



160 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

other members on that Board. I can put what I have to say in a very few 
words. We have come to this position, that we have had this morning a 
meeting with Mr. McDowell and those whom he proposes to make directors. 
I think, perhaps, that Mr. McDowell will follow me, and will make a statement 
which will be satisfactory to you all, and which will enable us very quickly 
to close the proceedings of this meeting. I think it would be a very great 
mistake, simply because you belong to one party or another, that you should 
oppose the men whom Mr. McDowell has nominated. The real question is, 
are they fit and proper men to represent the shareholders on the Board, and 
do they mean to work the business of the Company in the interests of the 
shareholders honestly, and as far as they can, according to their ability ? 

AN APPEAL FOR HARMONY. 

From inquiries which I have made I speak from my own inquiries and 
my own knowledge I can assure you, gentlemen, that I believe there is 
nothing behind what these gentlemen have already stated, that they 
have no desire to grind their own axes, they have no desire to do 
any injury to the Company, but that they wish, on the contrary, to 
work honestly and ably in your interests. Now, in view of the statement 
which I think Mr. McDowell will make, I will, if I may do so, advise you to 
act as I, holding proxies, mean to act myself in this matter. I would advise 
you, in this meeting, to avoid all contention and disputing, and to try and 
bring all the shareholders present into harmony, in order to put a stop to 
this dispute, so as to prevent anything of this sort again, if possible, on 
future meetings, and to vote for the five nominees of Mr. McDowell, repre- 
senting that if that is done by us all now in the interests of harmony and of 
the Company, Mr. McDowell and his colleagues will see their way to make 
some concession which will satisfy the minority of the shareholders, and 
ensure the representation of the minority of the shareholders upon the Board. 

MR. w. s. MCDOWELL'S ATTITUDE. 

Mr. W. S. McDowell : I am very glad that Sir Edward Jenkinson has 
given me an early opportunity of speaking in this meeting. I met Sir Edward 
Jenkinson for the first time this morning, and from the way he spoke I knew 
he had only one interest, like ourselves, at heart, namely, the interests of the 
Salt Union, Limited. I am only sorry that we did not meet earlier. We 
met at the eleventh hour, when we were committed to our candidates, and 
could not withdraw them. We do not wish to withdraw them, because we 
believe we have gentlemen who have only one interest at heart, namely, the 
interest of the Salt Union. As regards the statement which Sir Edward 
Jenkinson expects me to make, I am authorised to say this and I have put 
it down so that I may make no mistake by the gentlemen who are now to be 
nominated. There are likely to be two further vacancies about the end of 
June, and although when those vacancies take place it will no doubt be the 
duty of those gentlemen if elected as directors to consider the actualities then 
existing, yet I can assure you that if it is possible on that occasion to meet 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 161 

in some measure the wishes of the minority, no one will be more glad than I 
am. I may say further that the names of two gentlemen have to-day been 
confidentially mentioned to my friends and myself, and that so far as we are 
aware, both of those gentlemen are absolutely unexceptionable, and either of 
them, if put forward in a friendly spirit as candidates, would, I honestly 
believe, be received and favourably considered by the then directors of the 
Company. 

Mr. J. H. Cooke : I wish to say this, in the absence of Dr. McDougall, 
who, I am sorry to tell you, has been ill in bed for the last week with a severe 
attack of influenza, and who is very sorry indeed that he is not able to be here 
this afternoon, that so far as his action is concerned, and the action of his 
committee, it has only had one object in view, and that is the best interests 
of this Company. 

A resolution that the candidates be put en bloc was carried unanimously 
amid cheers. 

NEW DIRECTORS ELECTED. 

Mr. W. S. McDowell : I have very much pleasure in proposing " That 
the following gentlemen be and are hereby elected as directors of the Salt 
Union, Limited : Mr. William Harvey Alexander (Messrs. John Rew & Co.), 
merchant, Liverpool ; Mr. George Henry Cox, Liverpool, vice-president of 
the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce ; Mr. John Holt, merchant, Liverpool, 
chairman of John Holt & Co. (Liverpool), Limited, and chairman of the 
Wirral Waterworks Co., and of the West Cheshire Water Company ; Mr. 
Archibald Roxburgh (Messrs. Cockbain, Allardice & Co.), merchant, Liverpool : 
and Mr. Thomas Bland Royden, J.P., shipowner, Liverpool, director of the 
Union Marine Insurance Co., late M.P. for Liverpool." I can assure you, 
gentlemen, that it was not without a great deal of difficulty that the Com- 
mittee were able to get such a fine body of commercial gentlemen to come 
forward and try and resuscitate the affairs of the Salt Union. I think that 
we may congratulate ourselves on the gentlemen who have kindly consented 
to be our nominees, and I hope and trust that they will be able to bring us 
back to a position, if not equal to what we were in the first years, at least to 
something approaching it. They have a very arduous task before them. I 
know that this year no board of directors probably could improve our affairs. 
We must pot, and I would like it recorded that I say it we must not expect 
an improvement in the current year. The contracts of the year are made. 
The prices generally, I believe, are lower than in previous years, and no human 
being could possibly bring us out of this year better, and probably they 
cannot bring us out as well as last year. Therefore when we meet next year, 
we must be lenient with our new directors if they are elected, and must give 
them an opportunity at first of learning the work, and then of showing us the 
good results of their commercial training. I have very much pleasure indeed 
in proposing that those five gentlemen shall have seats on the Board. 

Mr. Douglas Coghill, M.P. : I have much pleasure in seconding the nomina- 
tion of those five gentlemen whose names you have just heard read. 



162 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

The resolution was then put to the meeting, and carried unanimously. 
THE NEW BOARD'S THANKS. 

Mr. Thomas Bland Royden : I have been asked by my friends to thank 
you. the shareholders here present, for the confidence which you have shown 
in electing us as directors. I also have to express my thanks and theirs to 
Sir Edward Jenkinson and his friends for the unanimous vote which has been 
given to-day. I quite endorse what fell from Sir Edward Jenkinson, that it 
is highly important, in the best interests of this Company, that the gentlemen 
who are about to be elected as directors should receive the unanimous and 
hearty support of all the shareholders. I am not going to prophesy about the 
future, because I think it is a very safe thing not to prophesy unless you 
actually know, and we cannot very well know what is in the future. I hope 
that the view which my friend Mr. McDowell has initiated may prove to be 
what may be termed a shady side view. We shall hope by dint of exertion, 
and by an improved state of trade, that things may turn out better in the 
end. Still, after all, it is only a hope which I venture to express. I can 
assure the shareholders that my friends and I are animated, as has been said, 
by only one wish, and that is to devote our time, and the best of our abilities, 
and our commercial knowledge, to the improvement, if it be possible, of the 
position of affairs with regard to the Salt Union. 

A CORDIAL CONCLUSION. 

f 

The Chairman : Well, gentlemen, this is not a time for making speeches, 
and so I will not keep you ; but I may express to you my great pleasure at 
matters having been settled in such a friendly way. I may say that when I 
came here I anticipated sitting here till about seven or eight o'clock, with 
polls going on at least nine times for the different candidates. I am delighted 
that the matter has now been settled satisfactorily, and I think it is a good 
omen for the future of the Company. It will show that the Union can be 
united, and that we really all of us have the prosperity of the Union at heart. 
Under those, circumstances, I hope that there is a good prospect for the 
Company. I will not enter into Mr. McDowell's anticipations, except to say 
that no body of men will be more pleased if the new directors are successful 
than the old directors. They will have our best wishes, and our best 
sympathies, and I hope that in February next, even if you hear nothing 
better for the moment, you may hear nothing worse, and that there will be 
reasonable prospects of a better time coming for the salt trade. 

Mr. G. H. Cox : Perhaps you will allow me before we separate to move 
a very hearty vote of thanks to the Honourable Lionel Ashley for his conduct 
in the chair to-day. I have felt all along that the resolution which was 
arrived at at the last meeting was one which placed your old directors in a 
very difficult, if not a very painful position, and I am bound to say that their 
conduct since then has only added a large measure of respect to what we all 
felt for them before. I will ask Sir Edward Jenkinson to second this vote of 
thanks. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 163 

Sir Edward Jenkinson, K.C.B. : I have great pleasure, sir, in seconding 
this vote of thanks to you as chairman, and to your colleagues, who have 
been working in the management of the affairs of the Salt Union. 

The resolution was carried unanimously. 

The Chairman said : In the name of my colleagues, and in my own name, 
I wish to thank you very much for your reception of the kind things which 
have been said by Mr. Cox and Sir Edward Jenkinson. 

Mr. T. C. Lowden : I beg to move that a unanimous and hearty vote of 
thanks be passed to Mr. McDowell for the able way in which he has fulfilled 
the duties which the shareholders placed upon him. 

The motion was seconded by Mr. E. H. DOUGLAS, and carried unanimously. 



164 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



TENTH ANNUAL MEETING AT LIVERPOOL. 

The Tenth Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders of the Salt Union, 
Limited, was held on March 4th, 1899, at the Law Association Rooms, Cook 
Street, Liverpool. The chair was occupied by Mr. George Henry Cox (deputy- 
chairman), and he was supported by Messrs. William Harvey Alexander, 
Herman John Falk, John Holt, Archibald Roxburgh, T. Ward (directors), 
J. M. Fells (general manager), E. C. W'ickes (secretary), A. E. Showell 
(accountant), Winshurst, Bateson & Company (solicitors), . Fletchar (Cooper 
Brothers, auditors), . Nicholson (Harmood, Banner & Son, auditors, Liver- 
pool). There was a large attendance. 

REPORT FOR 1898. 

The report of the directors, which had been printed and circulated among 
the shareholders, was as follows : 

REPORT AND ACCOUNTS. 

The directors beg to present their report for the year ended 3ist December, 
1898, with statement of accounts and balance sheet. 

CHANGE OF HEAD OFFICE AND DIRECTORS. 

In accordance with a resolution passed at the last ordinary general 
meeting on 28th February, 1898, requesting the directors to make arrange- 
ments for the removal of the head office of the company from London to 
Liverpool, the change was effected at the end of June last. Two of the four 
London directors retired at the extraordinary general meeting on 28th April, 
and the remaining two on 3Oth June. 

REORGANIZATION OF MANAGEMENT. 

Economy and advantage have resulted from the removal of the head- 
quarters to Liverpool, where the bulk of the salt business is transacted. The 
district managers have also been brought into direct touch with the Board, 
and the lines of further reorganization have been determined upon. 

UNION SALT TRADE, 1898. 

The tonnage of salt delivered by the Union in 1898 was 967,000 tons, as 
against 1,014,000 tons in 1897. The alterations in the mode of manufactur- 
ing chemicals and the change in other industries have still further decreased 
the demand for salt for industrial purposes, and quickened competition 
amongst salt producers. To the East Indian market there has been an. 
increased supply on lower rates of freight during the last half of the year 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 165 

the benefits from which have not yet been realised in the accounts, whereas 
the latter have suffered from the losses incurred by earlier shipments made 
at high rates of freight. 



SOAP WORKS. 

During the year the utilization of a disused set of salt works belonging 
to the Company by the erection of soap manufacturing plant and machinery 
therein has been completed. The Company is now producing high grade 
soaps for household and toilet purposes, and trusts that the shareholders 
will give this department their active support. 

UTILIZATION OF PROPERTY. 

Some of the craft continue to be profitably utilized for the conveyance of 
general merchandise. The finances of the Company having been somewhat 
hampered by the past policy of buying up properties about ^30,000 having 
been expended for such purpose since the issue of the B Debenture Stock in 
1895 the Board intend to sell any surplus property as opportunity offers, 
reserving the brine, rock salt and minerals, and guarding against the use of 
the lands for competing purposes. 

COMBINATION OF SALT MANUFACTURERS. 

In August last the salt manufacturers in the Middlesbrough district, 
including the Union, established the North Eastern Salt Company, Limited, 
which is now in successful operation. Strenuous efforts have been made to 
form a similar company amongst the manufacturers in the Cheshire, Stafford- 
shire and Lancashire districts, but it has not yet been found possible to bring 
this about. A working arrangement has been entered into between most of 
the outside manufacturers and the Union for maintaining the higher level of 
prices lately put into operation. 

NEW TRUSTEES FOR DEBENTURE STOCKS. 

Mr. Charles A. McArthur, M.P., and Mr. William Samuel McDowell, of 
Liverpool, have undertaken to act as new trustees for the debenture stock- 
holders, and the requisite deeds of appointment have been prepared for 
execution. 

MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &C. 

The District Managers of the Company have certified that the respective 
works, plant in operation, craft and rolling stock in their several districts 
have been maintained, and where necessary renewed, during the year. 

BALANCE SHEET. 

During the year the sum of ^5,924 IDS. 7d. expended on new works has 
been charged to the general capital account. 



166 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT. 

The amount standing to the credit of this account for 
salt, brine, carriage, and sundry trading, was 131.615 
2s. jd., and from other sources 39,140 iis. gd., making 
the total amount .. .. .. .. i7O.755 H o 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, dis- 
tributors' discounts, agency, and other charges set forth in 
the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all sources 
amount to . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37, 34 2 4 2 

From this amount the capital invested in the Weston 
(Staffordshire) Works, and the amount paid under award 
for dilapidations of those works, has been written off .. 4,55 o o 



Leaving a balance of . . . . 32,792 4 2 

Add the amount brought forward .. .. .. 12, 531 4 4 



Which gives a total of . . . . 45,323 8 6 
The Debenture Stock interest paid on ist July, 1898, 
and i st January, 1899, amounted to .. .. .. 54,000 o o 



Leaving a deficit of .. .. .. 8,676 n 6 

This amount has been transferred from the Reserve Fund to the Credit 
of Profit and Loss Account. To preserve uniformity of comparison, the 
accounts are presented this year in the same form as before. The gross 
profits shown in the accounts include the nett profits of the Union's distributing 
branches, to which the administration expenses and bad debts have been 
separately charged. 

By Order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 

CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH. 

The Chairman : Gentlemen, I find myself this afternoon in a very 
unenviable position, in the first place because I am not able to ask you to 
adopt a very favourable report of the working of the Salt Union for the last 
year, and, secondly, because I have to occupy this chair to-day owing to the 
very much to be regretted absence of our Chairman, Mr. Royden, who asked 
me to read the following letter : " Dear Mr. Cox, Will you explain to the 
meeting to-morrow how extremely sorry I am not to be able to be present, 
owing to the influenza ?" He has been away altogether a fortnight from 
business, and he has to take very great care of himself. Well, now, as I have 
said, the report that I am about to ask you to adopt is not a very brilliant 
one. But, gentlemen, it has not been within the power of us new directors, 
at all events, to make a better one. We sincerely wish we could have done 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 167 

so. If you remember, Mr. McDowell in London warned the shareholders 
there that they must 

NOT EXPECT MUCH CHANGE FOR THE CURRENT YEAR, 

largely because contracts had been entered into, and it is impossible to 
change the policy of a great Company like this at a moment's notice. I may 
say, I think, without any undue self -laudation, that the directors, and the 
new directors especially, with the assistance of the two old ones, have spent 
an enormous amount of time and labour and have suffered a very considerable 
amount of anxiety since we took seats upon this Board. I think that if we 
had contemplated what was before us very few of us would have undertaken 
the job at all. The concern that we have been asked to look after, I need 
not tell you, is a very gigantic one. We are not only salt makers, possessing 
salt works in different parts of the country, spreading over Cheshire and 
Worcestershire and Middlesbrough, but we are also engineers, carriers, we 
are boat builders, boat owners, East Indian merchants, and we are also 
distributors. And not content with that, the old Board saw fit to attempt 
even to go into the alkali trade and into the soap trade, but about these two 
I will say more by-and-by. Now we new members of the Board have acted 
to a large extent as a committee of investigation. At the same time, of 
course, we have had to conduct the regular routine work of the Company 
as well. And our investigations have led us to the following conclusions : 
that, in the first instance, the Company was I hardly know what adjective 
to use but I will say 

VASTLY OVER-CAPITALIZED. 

And to make matters infinitely worse, it was attempted to work it as a high 
monopoly. Prices, you remember, were advanced to an enormous extent, 
and large profits were realised for a year or two, but with the inevitable 
result of killing the trade in many directions, especially abroad, and of bring- 
ing into being a whole crowd of competitors in the shape of salt makers in 
Cheshire, in Middlesbrough, in Fleetwood, in Barrow, and in Staffordshire. 
Now, gentlemen, some of those who were responsible very early left the 
Board, and I believe not without profit to themselves. Their successors 
struggled on, still maintaining to a great extent the monopolist policy as to 
the retaining of land, works, and even prices for many markets. The only 
market in which there was free competition, and which, in consequence, the 
Salt Union may be said to hold, is the home trade. This policy of holding 
the prices on the part of the Salt Union has been somewhat in the shape of an 
umbrella over the heads of many of our competitors, who were not slow to 
find out which were the most profitable kinds of salt to make and I may 
tell you that many kinds of salt have been very profitable to make and they 
have gradually cut into the Salt Union's trade, with the result that the Salt 
Union has lost both its price and its tonnage to a certain extent. The buying 
of land also has been 

MORE OR LESS OF A DISASTER, 

for it has locked up a great deal of our working capital, of which we should 



168 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

be very glad to be possessed at the present moment. We think, gentlemen, 
that this has been an altogether mistaken policy, and the cause, to a large 
extent, of the existing position of the Salt Union ; but it is only fair to say 
with regard to the former management that there are some things which 
they could not possibly avoid, for instance, the loss of trade through adverse 
tariffs, through high rates, and through the development of the native supplies 
of salt in foreign countries. And I think it is well that all you shareholders 
should realise what this development means, and what is taking place at 
the present. In Australia they have vast salt lagoons, which dry up at 
certain times of the year, and where they simply have to turn in a big plough 
to get up pure white salt. The same kind of thing is taking place in 

California Therefore, it is perfectly clear that we who make salt in this 

country have these new sources of supply to compete with. The remedy, 
so far as we can see, for the existing state of things is 

A REASONABLE COMBINATION 

amongst those who are making salt. As you know, the lines were laid before 
we came on to the Board for a combination in Middlesbrough which we have 
been able to bring to a conclusion, and a limited company has been formed 
there, embracing all the salt makers. We are bound together for two years 
at all events, and that combination is working exceedingly well ; and I may 
say that Middlesbrough is the only department of the Salt Union that shows 
an improvement, so far as profits are concerned, during the past year. That, 
I think, ought to be an object lesson to all salt makers, that it is only by a 
reasonable combination that any profit is obtainable for anybody. And by 
combination, gentlemen, I do not mean monopoly exactly certainly not in 
the sense in which it was taken up when the Salt Union was first formed. The 
combination which we aim at is one which limits production at any rate to 
the existing pannage and, at the same time, puts prices at a reasonable level. 
We don't wish, in any way to, as it were, hurt the general public or the 
general trade, but we want a reasonable and fair profit for our capital and 
for our exertions. We endeavoured our Chairman and I, along with the 
other Cheshire manufacturers during the space of about six weeks, by very 
hard work indeed , to bring about a similar combination with regard to Cheshire 
to that which obtains in the North-Eastern Company at Durham, but after 
we had got everything as we had thought in order, and the documents ready 
for signing, I am sorry to say that some of the Cheshire manufacturers who 
had pledged themselves to come into this agreement refused to sign it. I 
may say that since then a sort of tentative arrangement has been made with 
the bulk of the Cheshire and Staffordshire makers, and it promises to go on 
successfully, and should it do so even the moderate advance in prices which 
we have already obtained should during the course of the year yield a profit 
to the Salt Union of some 30,000 or 40,000. So you may judge for your- 
selves what a very important thing combination is. It is well to remember, 
however, in this connection, and looking forward to the current year of 1899, 
that we are saddled with a contract, with an alkali contract, entered into 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 169 

two years ago, which is at a price which will certainly show no profit as 
against a profit last year, and that we also have less stock of salt in hand to 
the value of something like 7,000. These two items together may be put 
down as 12,000 as against a possible profit, as I have said by the increased 
prices of the inland trade of some 40,000. I now turn for a moment to 

THE INDIAN BUSINESS. 

It is too large a question to go into thoroughly, and as I have only had a few 
hours' notice that I should have to occupy the chair to-day, you must make 
allowances for me not, perhaps, going into it as thoroughly as I otherwise 
should have liked to have done. There is no doubt that the trade, according 
to the figures which we have had to face, for the last year has been nothing 
short of disastrous. It has been due to shipments made before we came on 
to the Board, and largely owing to the high freights ruling. For the present 
the Indian trade account shows a profit, but I don't wish you to place too 
much reliance upon that, because no one can foretell what the results of the 
freights may be during the current year. You must understand that while 
we make a loss on this Indian trade account as I have shown you, it is on the 
basis of prices which show the works 

A MODERATE PROFIT. 

So much for the trade of the past year. We believe that you have a valuable 
property you paid undoubtedly a great deal too much for it ; but still you 
have a valuable property. You have, perhaps, the finest works and sites in 
the United Kingdom for salt-making, you have the command, owing to your 
geographical position, of trades which your competitors, perhaps with one 
exception, cannot possibly touch, and you have many valuable brands, 
packets, &c. The 

CARRYING TRADE IS ALSO A PROFITABLE ONE. 

If some of the burdens could be removed and the business conducted on true 
commercial lines, there is no reason why something should not be made out 
of the concern, always bearing in mind that one of the chief burdens is its 
over-capitalization, and the locking up of capital in unproductive lands and 
works. With regard to the management, it was decided, if you remember, 
that the London Office should be done away with, and that Liverpool should 
be the centre in future. That we very promptly carried out. The change 
has worked entirely satisfactorily, and we succeeded in saving some 1,300 
a year by the transfer. I may also say that the saving in salaries, owing to 
deaths and other reductions in the staff, amounts to something like 2,700 
as compared with last year. Further economies, through concentration and 
the cutting off of surplus hands, have to be faced. We hope to make 

FURTHER ALTERATIONS 

also in the mode of conducting the business, for which we have laid down 
the lines ; but I am free to confess that Boards and companies are somewhat 
slow to act compared with what would happen in a private concern, and 
personally I should like to see some rapid progress made and more drastic 



I 7 o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

measures adopted. Gentlemen, there is no disguising the fact that the 
patient is sick. He may be said to be even in a critical condition, and when 
that takes place you want a doctor to apply prompt measures, and where old 
diseases have taken root you want the sharp and the clever knife of the 
surgeon to be quickly applied. I have only left myself a few words to say 
with regard to the attempt at making alkali and the soap. As far as the 
alkali is concerned, a gentleman endeavoured to work a patent electrolytic 
process at our works, which had a prolonged and a fair trial ; but we felt 
that it would not be wise to proceed any further with it. And now with 
regard to 

THE SOAP BUSINESS, 

which appears to be looked upon by many of the shareholders as something 
upon which they may count for a dividend, even should the salt continue to 
fail in that respect. We have received a large correspondence with regard 
to the matter, notably some clever letters from a lady shareholder, who 
tenders us most excellent advice as to the pushing of this department. We 
quite agree with most of her recommendations, but there are considerations 
which we are bound to take into account with regard to the soap trade that 
she leaves out of the account, because she is not aware of them. We admit 
at once that on the lines hitherto adopted it is and must be a failure, and 
whether it is worth while our putting it, or trying to put it, on right ones is 
a matter that is now under consideration. So far 5,000 has been spent, and 
the plant even is not complete. There is no glycerine plant, without which 
the soap works, I take it, cannot be profitably worked. To complete the 
works, and enable them to make a quantity of soap that would be worth 
while producing, to advertise, to give prizes, discount, &c., would involve 
anything from a further 5,000 to 20,000 more of expenditure. We are not 
over-burdened with loose capital, and, therefore, it is a grave question as to 
whether the attempt to compete with the enterprising and wealthy soap 
makers already in the field is desirable on the part of the Company. Perhaps 
before I sit down I ought to say a word with regard to an amount that 
appears in the balance sheet for the first time, and that is a loan from 
our bankers. It seems that during recent years the directors have been in 
the habit of borrowing from the bank an amount to pay their debenture 
interest, which was very quickly recouped by trading, and was, therefore, 
paid off, and the amount did not appear in the balance sheet. This year, 
however, owing to the fact that we have, as I say, had so much of our capital 
locked up in land we had to pay during last year and already in January 
this year large sums of money for land contracts which were entered into 
before we came on the Board in this way the available capital of the 
Company has been locked up, and we have been obliged to go to the bank for 
actual working capital. But we have 

PLENTY OF SECURITY 

for that in lands. We have large amounts of land outside even the 
debenture security, and we have also a reserve fund which, unfortunately 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 171 

again, has been locked up in land and partly in our own debentures. In that 
way you will see that we have to show that we owe the bank 25,000 on the 
3ist December. I will now move : " That the report of the directors for the 
year ended 3ist December, 1898, with statement of accounts and balance 
sheet now submitted, be received and adopted." I should just like to say 
that I have received a letter from Mr. Hertz, who made some rather pertinent 
criticisms at the last annual meeting in London, and it is as well it should 
be read to-day. 

Mr. Holt : I beg to second the adoption of the report. 

A Shareholder : Is it now open for discussion ? 

The Chairman : It will be open for discussion, but I think it desirable 
that the letter I referred to should be read first. 

IMPORTANT LETTER FROM MR. HERTZ. 

The Secretary : The letter is from Mr. Henry Hertz, who writes from 
" 32, Powis Square, Netting Hill, London, W., 23rd February, 1899. The 
Directors Salt Union, Limited, Liverpool. Gentlemen, Being unable to 
attend the annual meeting of the Company called for the 28th ins., I beg to 
notify you hereby of my dissent from the way in which the accounts are 
rendered in the balance sheet for 1898. I object strongly to the practice 
being continued of allowing ' goodwill ' to appear as an asset. The ' good- 
will ' of a concern that cannot even pay its debenture interest, except out of 
capital, is absolutely worthless. I raised this question, as you may remember, 
at the last annual meeting, and believed after having called attention thereto 
that such a faulty system would not be pursued under the new management. 
There is clearly a large amount of writing off needed. Thus properties, 
works, machinery, plant and goodwill, 3,461,274 IDS. sd. ; new works, 
5,924 IDS. 7d. ; distribution agencies and covenants with vendors, 
132,276 1 8s. 9d. ; shares in other salt companies, 138,767 ; total, 
3,738,242 igs. gd. ; while surplus freehold estates figure at 106,297 IDS. 7d. ; 
steamers, &c., 163,664 6s. 5d. ; rolling stock, 128,662 is. 3d. ; total, 
398,623 i8s. 3d. It is very evident that, since these various assets are useless 
towards the providing of a dividend, the value set against them in the balance 
sheet, amounting as on the other side to a total of 4,136,866 i8s., is a mere 
supposition, and so most misleading. It is indeed open to consideration 
whether so much of the Company's capital has not actually disappeared as to 
render further trading unjustifiable. The view taken by myself is that it is 
incumbent on those responsible for the management to draw up a valuation 
of the assets in accordance with the actual return they yield, which would be 
the only true estimate of their worth. Under the faulty system of the past, 
dividends have been distributed which practically came out of capital, and 
I strongly protest against such a thing being repeated hereafter. If it be 
possible to continue the business, the only sound way of doing so can but be 
by taking full account of whatever has ceased to be valuable as an asset, 
and there and then writing it off. Trusting that these views may meet with 
your approbation, I should esteem it a favour if you would consent to read 

o 



1 7 a A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

this letter out at the meeting ; since I cannot be present to voice the matter 
myself. I remain, gentlemen, yours faithfully, HENRY HERTZ." 

CRITICISMS OF THE REPORT. 

The Chairman : Before you proceed with the discussion I should like to 
say the Board has carefully considered this criticism of Mr. Hertz, and I am 
bound to say there is a great deal in it. But it really amounts to this, that 
if we were to go into all these matters it means reconstruction. With regard 
to what he says " it is indeed open to consideration whether so much of the 
Company's capital has not actually disappeared as to render further trading 
unjustifiable " that has also received our attention, and will receive a much 
larger amount of our attention in the near future. 

Mr. Coghill : Comparing the gross profits of 1898 with those of the previous 
year there is a shrinkage of 38,180. Has this shrinkage been spread 
uniformly over all the Salt Union divisions, or have there been fair profits 
made in one or more divisions which have been swamped by losses made in 
another division, and, if so, in which division has your trade suffered most ? 

The Chairman : With regard to the shrinkage I may say, as I have already 
told you in my opening remarks, the Durham district is the only one that 
shows any improvement. Worcestershire even shows a reduction. That is 
largely due to the shrinkage of our Australian trade. Cheshire shows a con- 
siderable reduction. I don't think it advisable to go into the figures, but 
they are at the service of any shareholder who likes to come and look at them. 

Mr. Holbrook : I gave notice of motion a week ago that I should bring 
forward a resolution at this meeting, and I have great pleasure in bringing 
it forward. I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on the able address you 
have made, which will perhaps meet a great many of my objections. But 
for all that I think it only right I should state my objections, and then leave 
it in your hands for your better judgment. My great wish is that there 
should be referred back to the committee for their consideration certain 
points. Those points are three, which I have laid down in the shape of an 
amendment. The first is in favour of a 

REDUCTION OF THE INTEREST ON THE DEBENTURES. 

We now see in municipal government, and in Colonial and Imperial matters, 
that the interest on debentures has been reduced to about 3 per cent., and 
I consider the Salt Union is such that we are now in a position to talk to the 
debenture holders, and tell them their interest will have to be reduced the 
same as other interests have also been reduced. My second point is that 
the payment of the directors should cease, and that honorary directors be 
appointed, with a general manager to carry on the business of the Company. 
The directors have been receiving for a number of years a large sum of 
money, and our shares have been depreciating in value to the extent of 2\ 
millions. When such a depreciation takes place I think all ought to meet 
the loss as well as the shareholders, and I think with honorary directors and 
a general manager or superintendent the work would be carried on as faith- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 173 

fully and as well to the benefit of the shareholders. My third objection is 
that no preference should be given to distributors to sell salt at market rates 
to compete with other concerns who have a free hand in this respect, and 
that the Indian and Chinese markets be kept fully supplied with the health- 
giving salt from Cheshire. This is another matter that ought to be well 
considered. It appears by the large sums which have been paid out of our 
capital that the distributors have been allowed to have salt at a very much 
reduced rate. Seeing that the shareholders' stock is depreciating in value, 
for the reasons I have advanced I ask that these matters be referred back for 
the consideration of the directors. With regard to India, you will see the 
consumption in India is large. I have in my hand the Government Report, 
and if you will allow me to hand it in, it will be no use my going into the 
figures. ... As regards the other part. If there is nothing done to give con- 
fidence to the shareholders then the best thing will be to wind up the concern, 
instead of the shares being dwindled away by half-crowns. This is a subject 
for the consideration of the directors, whether to wind up or make a reduction 
in the interest of the debenture holders and the directors' salaries. If any- 
one will second my proposition I admit we cannot expect to carry it. It 
will be for those shareholders to look after their own pockets, and bring 
such gentlemen on the directorate that the concern will be carried on with 
a profit, or wind it up, and reconstruct it in such a way that it will be beneficial 
to the parties who have invested their money in it. No doubt the removal 
of the office to Liverpool has been 

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, 

but as the concern has been carried on up to the present I will not say 
disgracefully, but anything but beneficially to the shareholders, and I hope 
that we shall have some returns for the money invested in this Company. 

The Chairman : Before I put it to the meeting let me say with regard to 
your proposition as to the reduction of the interest of the debenture stock in 
accordance with the example set by Imperial and other stock, I have no 
doubt we should be willing to get rid of our obligations in that manner, but 
the debenture holders would have something to say about it. Then with 
regard to the statement that heavy payments to directors should cease, and 
that the concern should be worked by a general manager and staff. Speaking 
for myself, I shall be happy to vacate my place to-morrow if you can get 
anyone to do the work for the love of the thing. Since the 28th of April last 
we have held ninety-eight Board and Committee meetings, and they have 
not been short ones, most of them lasting two to three hours each. Then 
we have had meetings of subsidiary companies, and they are a great many. 
We have had a vast amount of work in the endeavour to form a salt com- 
bination. I will, therefore, say no more about that, further than if you can 
get anyone to take the position for the love of the thing we shall be glad for 
them to do so. Then there was the question that no preference be given to 
distributors. I am not aware that any is given. We can only get into India 
in the Calcutta district ; the rest of India is served with native salt, which 



1 74 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

we cannot touch in any way. In order to get in what we do we have to do 
it by merchanting business. Then with regard to 

SUPPLYING CHINA WITH CHESHIRE SALT, 

we should be glad to do so, but it is prohibited by the Chinese Government 
at any rate in bulk ; it can only enter in small packets. Has anyone anything 
further to say about this ? 

Mr. William Parks : I should like to occupy a few minutes. I am pretty 
well conversant with the salt manufacturing trade. I am not a supporter 
of the motion of Mr. Holbrook, but I am going somewhat in the same way. 
You said you would be glad to leave the chair, but I should be sorry to see 
you do so. You are one of the right sort, and particularly if you take notice 
of what I am going to tell you. If I show you the way to work the Company 
at a profit you will be sorry you did not stop. To go back to Lord Thurlow, 
I told him what a bad state the concern was in. I referred him to a line in 
the prospectus to the effect that several of the vendors might be called in 
as a committee of inspection and report. If we made use of that line it would 
be instructive to him and beneficial to the shareholders. Instead of the 
directors seeking to borrow more money, and calling up more share capital 
9.000, 20.000 and 100,000 we should have had a reserve fund. If the 
directors are going to do anything worth while I advise you to make use of 
that line, and if not seek power from the shareholders to have the concern 
wound up, and end it rather than for the Company to be compulsorily wound 
up. The Hon. Lionel Ashley said it was not a question so much of manage- 
ment as high prices. Everyone knew that. But was it not much better to 
have a management in such a form as to meet any outsider, and not do as 
you like ? You were speaking a short time ago about approaching the 
outsiders. Let me tell you if you had been in proper working order, they 
would have bowed to your ruling. They knew your weakness. The directors 
in their report sheets have said what good work they have done during the 
year, and they contemplate doing more. Why, the thing must have been 
in a shocking form when they started rotten to the core. I have another 
thing to say. I was one of a deputation appointed to meet him in Liverpool, 
and certain things were pointed out to him. " Ah !" he said, " if I do come 
I don't understand it, and I never intend to learn." I believe that man 
spoke truthfully. There is another word before I finish. There were five 
gentlemen elected new directors. You are all in business, and you remember 
what I said to you in London. I went all the way to London on purpose to 
support you, but I warned you, and I said, " You are commercial gentlemen, 
but you want someone with a practical knowledge at the other end." You 
remember my remarks. Now, gentlemen, if you are going to work your 
business for the Board, you would have to give up your other business and 
educate yourselves to the management ; but if you will follow this line, you 
can mind your own business in comfort and still give sufficient time to the 
Salt Union. I can get men that are officials now under the Salt Union that 
will carry this out. They are 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 175 

PRACTICAL MEN, 

and you want men of that sort. Before the Salt Union was formed there 
was such a fight as never was known before. The Salt Union could not have 
stood it three months. 

The amendment moved by Mr. Holbrook was then put to the meeting, 
but it did not appear to obtain more than the support of the mover and 
seconder. There was an overwhelming vote against it. 

Dr. McDougall : I should like to ask you with reference to some remarks 
of the late Chairman, Mr. Ashley, at the February meeting in London, with 
regard to Brunner, Mond & Company and an alleged abstraction of brine or 
something about brine, I should like to ask what has been done in that matter, 
if anything has been done, and what has become of it. I should also like to 
ask if you can tell us anything about the Brine Pumping Compensation Rate 
Expenses. I should like to ask you further whether it is a fact that the 
directors paid that sum in direct opposition to counsel's opinion. I should 
like also to ask you how many of the directors are members of the 

BRINE COMPENSATION COMMITTEE, 

and if there are still any of the directors on the Brine Compensation Com- 
mittee, and if, in an action which was tried some little time ago in Chester, 
one of the directors had given evidence against the Salt Union ? With 
reference to another matter, you appear to have stated in your speech that 
you had a large surplus amount of land. Will you tell us the reason why you 
did not come to terms with the Electrolytic Company promoted by Mr. 
Hargreaves at Sandbach ? My information comes from one of the gentlemen 
who actually conducted the negotiations. It is very important in making 
a statement of this kind we should be informed as to the actual facts, because 
through Cheshire there is rather a strong feeling on this point. There is 
another matter in the balance sheet with reference to the carrying company. 
Will you tell us by whom the carrying company was promoted, by whom 
it is managed now, and in whose interests it is managed ? I should like to 
know something about it. With regard to the district managers. You say 
you have brought your district managers more in touch with the directors. 
Will you tell us who the district managers are ? Will you tell us also whether 
two of the directors are actually district managers, or practically supervisors 
of those district managers ? 

The Chairman : I hope you have copies of these questions, so that they 
may be answered. 

Dr. McDougall : On former occasions the Chairman has taken a note of 
the questions. 

The Chairman : Perhaps I had better take a note and answer each 
question seriatim. 

Dr. McDougall : I will correct you if you are wrong. It is rather an 
important matter to the debenture holders I hold a large number of 
debentures, besides being a large ordinary shareholder to be informed how 



176 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

it was that Lord Hillington and Mr. Ashley came to resign their trusteeship. 
Were they invited to do so, or was it a voluntary act ? 

The Chairman : It was entirely a voluntary act on their part. 

Dr. McDougall : Then I object to Mr. McDowell being appointed a 
trustee. I am not aware that Mr. McArthur, M.P., is a substantial share- 
holder of this Company, and I think we ought to have trustees appointed in 
whom the shareholders would have absolute confidence. My objection to 
Mr. McDowell is that he took a part last year which I considered inimical to 
the interests of the Company. I am not going to offer any criticism on your 
conduct, but from what you have said, I may say that we shall look forward 
with some interest to what you will have 

TO SAY NEXT YEAR 

as to the present management of the concern. The Company are now bound 
to give cordial support to the directors. I take it that you did not find it a 
bed of roses, but, on the other hand, we had a body of directors who had 
become familiar with salt-making, and it is a great advantage to have men 
with a practical acquaintance with salt-making as well as with the commercial 
side of the trade. Fresh arrangements have been made, and I wish to ask 
whether those arrangements have been confirmed by the new Board of 
Directors. It was left to them to settle whether those new arrangements 
should be carried out or not. 

The Chairman : Yes ; all those arrangements have been confirmed, as 
we deemed it to be in the interests of the Company that they should be. 

Mr. Keene : A promise was made in London that certain gentlemen 
should be put on the Board. I contend that in duty to the shareholders 
there ought to be 

TWO DIRECTORS APPOINTED OUTSIDE, 

in the place of the London directors who went out in June. I should be very 
sorry to say something in reference to the Board, or the way it was appointed, 
but at the same time the shareholders generally who know the transaction 
from beginning, to end know that the Board is a one-man Board, and it is 
only fair to the shareholders, considering the critical condition of the Company, 
that some outside directors should be elected. Otherwise it means going on 
as they are doing. Before long there will be some very awkward questions to 
be answered. In justice to the shareholders, and also to yourselves, you ought 
I contend to fulfil the promises made at the meeting last year, that two new 
directors from the outside should be appointed on the Board as early as 
possible. 

Mr. McDowell : A promise was made. It was said that if the names 
were brought forward they would be favourably considered. 

Mr. Keene : I say the shareholders ought to appoint the new directors. 
I should be sorry to throw any discord into the meeting, but it is the duty 
of the shareholders to have two independent men elected on the Board. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 177 

The Chairman : Mr. McDowell has correctly said what took place, and 
since then we have not had any names before us. We are willing to 

WELCOME ANY OTHER GOOD BUSINESS MEN 

upon the Board that the shareholders may think fit to elect, but there is 
something to be said for the old saying that " too many cooks spoil the 
broth." We are a compact Board, working together, and we have got a 
certain grip of the business, and any new men coming on would have to 
learn the thing over again. 

Mr. McDowell : On behalf of the committee, I should like to congratulate 
the new members on the manner in which they have carried out the wishes 
of the committee I refer to the expeditious removal of the London office to 
Liverpool, to the saving by so doing, and creating very little disturbance to 
the business of the Union. I would remind you that I agree with some of 
the earlier speakers, that the mere change from London to Liverpool is not 
going to make the Salt Union successful. Other changes and reforms are 
necessary. You indicate that you have some such reforms in view, and I 
would urge upon you the necessity of taking active steps to carry these 
reforms into effect as early as possible. The condition of the Union, as some- 
one has already stated, is critical. There is no doubt about it, and we cannot 
afford to let the policy of drift which has been the policy of the old directors 
to continue any longer. We hope you will take the earliest opportunity 
of carrying into effect the reforms you have in view. I would suggest that 
the sooner you put responsible heads to all the departments the better. 

The Chairman : I should like to say, before putting the resolution to the 
meeting, and in reply to Mr. McDowell, that on my own behalf, and on behalf 
of my colleagues, we are very much impressed with the necessity of doing 
what he has advocated just now. 

The resolution was then put to the meeting, and the Chairman declared 
it to have been carried. 

The retiring directors, Mr. William Harvey Alexander and Mr. H. J. Falk, 
were re-elected. 



1 7 8 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

A SALT UNION SOAP CIRCULAR. 

THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 

WINSFORD, 

CHESHIRE,' 

February i8th, 1899. 
DEAR SIR OR MADAM, 

We had the pleasure of notifying our Share and Debenture Holders about 
this time last year that our Soap Works were then rapidly approaching com- 
pletion, and we asked them to support this new branch of our trade by 
ordering through their local tradesmen supplies of the various Soaps made 
by us. 

Our request was not very largely responded to by the Shareholders, upon 
whom we again urge the desirability of ordering our Soaps through their 
tradesmen, and insisting on being supplied with them. 

The Soaps now being made are of the very highest quality, composed of 
the best materials, and by means of the most modern plant an excellent 
finish is given. 

The Toilet Soaps made are : 

"French Milled" (for sensitive skins). Made in various colours and deli- 
cately perfumed. Packed in daintily-labelled Cardboard Boxes 
containing three or twelve tablets. 
" Visitors' Tablets." Small tablets of Milled Soap for Visitors' use. Various 

colours and perfumes. Six tablets in a box. 

" ' Saltunia ' Society." Specially adapted for use with " Saltunia " Bath 
Salt, or with hard and for Salt Water. Packed six or twelve tablets 
in a box. 

The Household Soaps are made in bars : 

" Primrose," " Mottle," " Brown," " Curd," &c., and in twin tablets. 
" Weaver Washer." '. For domestic purposes 12 oz. twin tablets. Wrapped 
" Severn Soap." J and packed in handsome cartons containing three 

twin tablets. 
" Weaver Carbolic." The finest Disinfectant extant. Wrapped only in 

12 oz. twin bars. 

All Soaps are embossed either with the name of the Company or its trade 
mark. 

We would also call attention to the " Saltunia " Bath Salt specially made 
by us to combine the advantages of a Brine with a Sea Water Bath. Unlike 
other Bath Salts, " Saltunia " dissolves instantly. The aromatic essences 
used in the manufacture of this Bath Salt have been selected on account of 
their possessing in a high degree antiseptic and refreshing properties. 

Yours faithfully, 

THE SALT UNION, LIMITED. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 179 



REPORT FOR 1899. 

Report of the Directors for the year ended 3 ist December, 1899, to be submitted 
at the Eleventh Ordinary General Meeting, at the Law Association Rooms, 
14, Cook Street, Liverpool, on the 12th day of March, 1900. 

1. UNION'S TRADE, 1899. The deliveries of Union salt in 1899 were 
924,000 tons as compared with 967,000 tons in 1898. The principal decreases 
have been in the exports of salt to British East India, and of rock salt to the 
Continent. On the other hand there have been increases in the exports to 
the West Indies, Central and South America, and Australasia. 

2. COST OF MANUFACTURE. Throughout the year the Union has had to 
contend with enhanced cost of production, due to the rise in prices of fuel 
and other materials ; hence it is of the utmost importance that prices of 
salt should be well maintained. 

3. BRITISH SALT ASSOCIATION. The negotiations which took place in 
1898, between outside salt manufacturers in the north-western district and 
the Union, did not result in a permanent organisation. Subsequently, how- 
ever, the negotiations were resumed, and an Association for regulating salt 
prices was formed, which is working fairly satisfactorily. 

4. SURPLUS LANDS. In the autumn of last year the Board offered for 
sale by auction some of the Union's surplus lands in Cheshire, reserving the 
rock salt, brine and minerals thereunder. Several small lots were disposed 
of, and the nett proceeds credited to Capital Account. It is hoped that 
purchasers will be found for other sites. Some of these are situated near 
to coalfields, and possess excellent railway and water facilities. 

5. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers of the Company 
have certified that the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling 
stock in their several districts have been maintained, and where necessary 
renewed, during the year 1899. 

6. REORGANISATION. Further progress has been made in reorganising 
the conduct of the business of the Union. The office of General Manager 
has been discontinued ; other changes and reductions in the staff have 
been effected ; and one of the subsidiary selling companies has become 
merged in the general organisation of the Union. The Cheshire Salt Dis- 
tribution business of the Union has been concentrated in a Sales Department 
at the Liverpool Office under a Commercial Head. A Works Committee of 
Directors has been established to visit the Cheshire district weekly, and the 
other districts from time to time, with a view to effecting further improve- 
ments and economies in the working. 

7. BALANCE SHEET. During the year the sum of ^2,588 133. 5<i. 
expended on necessary alterations and extensions has been charged to 
General Capital Account. 



1 8o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for salt, brine, carriage and sundry 
trading, was 156,212 93., and from other sources, 
18.663 os- 3 d -. making the total amount . . . . 174.875 9 3 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, dis- 
tributors' discounts, agency, and other charges set forth in 
the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all sources 
amount to 58,601 14 9 

Deducting the Debenture Stock interest paid on ist 
July, 1899, and ist January, 1900, amounting to . . . . 54,000 o o 



Leaves a balance of . . . . 4,601 14 9 

This amount has been written off the cost of acquisition of distribution 
businesses and covenants with vendors. 

By Order of the Board, 

E. C. WICKES, 

Secretary. 

45, TOWER BUILDINGS, LIVERPOOL, 
jrd March, 1900. 

ELEVENTH ANNUAL MEETING AT LIVERPOOL. 

The Annual Meeting of the shareholders of the Salt Union, Limited, was 
held on March I2th, 1900, at the Law Association Rooms, Cook Street, 
Liverpool, to receive the report of the directors for the year ended December 
3 ist, 1899, with statement of accounts and balance sheet for adoption, to 
elect directors and auditors, and to transact any ordinary business. The 
chair was occupied by Mr. Thomas Bland Royden, Liverpool (Chairman). 

THE PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH. 

Mr. George Henry Cox, of Liverpool (the Deputy-Chairman), said : I 
believe many people went away from our last annual meeting with the 
impression, after the speech I then made, that we might have a surprise for 
you this year, but I can assure those present that it was not so. When we 
took our seats on the Board it would have been difficult to paint the condition 
of the Company in too black a colour, but, nevertheless, I may say all feel 
very much gratified that we are able to bring before you to-day such a satis- 
factory report ; and I think all fair-minded men will consider that this is a 
satisfactory report when you take into consideration the difficulties with 
which we have had to contend, which have required, I can assure you, very 
strenuous labour on the part of all of us on the Board. We have spent an 
immense amount of time, and given a great deal of attention to your affairs, 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 181 

and I believe that it will require to be continued perhaps even in a greater 
degree than in the past if we are to bring the Salt Union to a really satis- 
factory condition. However, from what we have seen of what we can do 
this year, I think it gives us very great hope that we shall be able to do the 
same in the succeeding years. We have at all events put the working concern 
I think into a much more harmonious condition than it was before. A good 
deal remains to be done, as I have said, but I think we have got the concern 
on the right lines. One of the things we have succeeded in doing I may 
mention specially, and that is the creation of a commercial department in 
Liverpool. We have been very fortunate in getting an exceedingly capable 
man to take the head of that important department, and I think that all our 
old customers feel that their business is well attended to. We have also been 
fortunate in securing fresh business as well. In these days of active com- 
petition because in spite of the combination there is a very active competi- 
tion in some quarters to get the orders the Chairman has said we must do 
all we can by reasonable combination to maintain prices, especially for the 
home trade, on a fairly remunerative level. You must remember that a 
large proportion of our trade can only be secured by competition with foreign 
countries. There we can only, to a moderate extent, feel the benefit of com- 
bination ; we have, in other words, to have a different scale of prices to meet 
the competition in foreign countries compared to the home trade. I do not 
think I need take up your time further, and I now formally second the 
adoption of the report. 

THE DIVISION OF PROFITS. 

The Hon. Henry Holbrook : I would like to make an observation or two. 
There are about ^3,000,000 in shares. We have met this year and there is no 
return at all given for the money. It is taken up by debenture holders, but 
I maintain that those holders ought in some way to be content to receive a 
less dividend than they are at present receiving. We ought to find the 
means of doing so, in order that some profit can be given to these unfortunate 
shareholders who own such a large amount of shares. The old directors I 
blame more than any other in the transaction ; the people who started the 
affair are certainly to blame for the great loss that has been sustained by the 
Salt Union shareholders. It is something enormous when you come to con- 
sider it. Again, I spoke of another matter last year. That was the salary 
of the directors. I consider that the payment of the Chairman and Vice- 
Chairman is sufficient, and that the other directors ought to be paid, as in 
other companies, after a dividend has been declared. We are brought here 
just to be looked at again, told to be good people, to lose our money and to 
look pleasant. Now, gentlemen, I don't bring forward any resolution this 
year. It is for others more largely concerned than myself if they see fit to 
do so. But I look upon the whole affair as being in a glorious muddle. I 
must say we have one of the best business gentlemen in Liverpool as our 
chairman, and I put it to him that he will in some measure use his brains so 
as to bring the business to a successful issue, in order that we can get some 



,83 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

benefit. A very large sum of money has been given to carry on the Salt 
Union, and that money is muddled away instead of going into the pockets of 
the shareholders. With these few remarks I will leave it to others to bring 
forward any resolution they may deem advisable. The stern fact remains 
that no interest is paid on the three millions of money, and the shareholders 
stand in this position, that they ask for some scheme to be formulated that 
they may receive some return for the large amount of money they have 
expended in the Salt Union. 

The Chairman : I quite sympathise with the last speaker, seeing that my 
holding is entirely in ordinary shares, but I am afraid we shall not be able to 
get the debenture holders to forego their rights. 

MR. MCDOWELL'S COMMITTEE'S EXPENSES. 

Mr. J. H. Cooke : Before the resolution is submitted, Mr. Chairman, there 
are one or two questions that I should like to ask. In the first place, I wish 
to ask whether Mr. Frederick Walker, the secretary of Mr. McDowell's 
Committee of Investigation, has been paid any, and what sum, in respect of 
that Committee ? I also wish to know when it was paid, and to whom, and 
upon what advice ? 

The Chairman : In reply to Mr. Cooke's question, the sum of 484 is. 4d. 
was made in April, 1899. Before that payment was made the Board were 
advised by their solicitors, Messrs. Bateson and Company. They wrote : 
" The appointment of the committee was unanimously confirmed by the 
shareholders at a meeting on the 28th of February, 1898, and we think that, 
having regard to the confirmation, none of the shareholders could now object 
to the committee being paid expenses incurred in the interests of the share- 
holders, and with their authority. Apart from this, however, it seems to 
us that the money may be said to have been expended in the interests of the 
Salt Union generally, and that the committee are, therefore, entitled to be 
reimbursed what they have spent." They afterwards wrote : " We are of 
opinion that the shareholders' committee were justified in employing a 
solicitor, and we, therefore, think that the Salt Union may reimburse them 
all reasonable charges paid by them to their solicitor." 

THE UNION'S CLAIMS FOR SUBSIDENCE. 

Mr. Fells : With regard to the brine pumping compensation rate, I regret 
to see there is still a sum of 2,000 appearing in the account in connection 
with that rate. May I urge upon the Board the desirability of further con- 
centrating their works at Winsford so as to reduce this rate to a minimum ? 
I hope the Board will persevere and continue in those steps. There is 
another point to which I ought to call attention, and that is, that this company 
is not only in the position of paying a heavy compensation rate, but is in 
itself a big sufferer from subsidence in the Northwich district. Might I 
suggest, Mr. Chairman, that, with your usual courtesy and so well known 
fairness, you should approach the other brine pumpers in the district with 
a view of getting them to see any equitable claim that may be made upon 
them ? I think if you yourself, sir, personally took that step, you would 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 183 

probably receive some substantial consideration for the shareholders. 
There is one other point, and that is this. During the two years, or nearly 
so, that the present Board have been in office, they must have been con- 
vinced that the fundamental difficulty in connection with this company is 
that of over-capitalization. I would urge the Board to take this matter 
very carefully into consideration. Some two years ago a suggestion was 
made in connection with the Company for a reconstruction on the lines 
successfully carried out in the case of Borax Consolidated, and I hope the 
directors will give attention to this matter, so that the Company may be 
placed on a more sound and solid basis. I believe that a scheme of re- 
organization would be worthy all their powers and ability, and ought to 
take precedence over these minor changes in regard to staff and such like, 
which, after all, are not so important. 

RECONSTRUCTION MERITABLE. 

The Chairman : I quite agree with the remarks of Mr. Fells with regard 
to Winsford. There is no doubt that we have had it in view, as he very well 
knows, and the difficulties that surround it render it somewhat difficult of 
attainment. We have various properties, some freehold and some leasehold, 
and we have to pay rents for certain properties whether we use them or not. 
Therefore we are bound, in some degree, to keep them going because of the 
rent we have to pay ; but so far as practicable, and so far as the position 
of the works goes for making the various kinds of salt and their adaptability 
either for rail or water as the case may be, we do desire to save our rate as 
far as we can by making as much salt and using the works at Winsford as 
much as we can. I am glad to hear from my friend, Mr. Ward, that the 
claims for compensation this year are much less, and, therefore, we may 
expect some amelioration with regard to the rate for brine pumping. But 
we shall not lose sight of the advantages we have at Winsford. I am 
pleased to hear that Mr. Fells thinks that if a meeting of the brine pumpers 
could be convened, some arrangement to our mutual advantage might be 
made. I shall be pleased to endeavour to arrange such a meeting. With 
regard to reconstruction. There is no doubt that some form of reconstruction, 
when the Company gets upon a solid working basis, will have to be done 
in the interests of all. The difficulty no doubt will arise as to how far the 
preference shareholders should give way and how far the ordinary. I think 
I may safely promise on behalf of myself and co-directors that we will give 
our earnest attention to this because we feel that the capital of the company 
was made on a basis of having a strict monopoly. Well, I am not, of 
course, going to enter into a discussion of the merits or demerits of the prices 
paid, but there is no doubt that so far as an absolute monopoly goes in the 
salt trade, such a thing does not exist, and, in my opinion, never will exist 
again in all probability. Therefore it would be as well to put the company, 
if possible, on a sound basis with regard to the position it holds. It will 
require considerable care and attention in dealing with it in reconciling 
the different interests, but I hope that ere long, when we have got things 



184 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION 

into thorough working order, we shall be able to turn our attention to helping 
forward such an arrangement. 

PROPOSAL TO INCREASE THE BOARD'S REMUNERATION. 

Mr. Fred Walker : It seems to me that you did not quite deal with the 
remarks of my friend, Mr. Holbrook, who first addressed the meeting. It 
is perfectly true that you dealt with his ingenious proposition that you 
should cease to muddle away more of our money in paying our creditors, 
and if we could cease to muddle away the money it would be a desirable 
thing to do. But there is one other point to which he called your attention 
of which you did not speak, and I venture to ask the permission of the 
shareholders to make a few observations upon it. I refer to the question 
of the remuneration of the directors. Now according to the figures in the 
account placed before us, the remuneration of the directors, including 
travelling expenses, comes to the sum of 2,627 los. 8d. According to my 
reading of the articles of association that is, at least, 2,000 less than you are 
entitled to receive by the articles under which you are carrying on this 
business. It seems to me, therefore, that the proper thing for the share- 
holders to consider is, not whether your remuneration should be cut down, 
but with regard to tne question of the Board of Directors, like the present, 
which has had to fight the tiger through very great difficulty, and has had 
to face difficulties not of their own creating, it would be more fitting on 
our part, that, out of the 4,000 carried forward, 1,000 should be divided 
among the directors as some slight recognition of the way in which they 
have performed their duties. We are all agreed that we have got a good 
Board of Directors, such a Board as we cannot get in any other city of the 
empire, and certainly not in London, where I live, and therefore I venture 
to submit that they exercise the powers under their articles of association, 
of taking, for the extremely difficult and ardous labours they have put forth, 
an extra 1,000. This is no paradox. There is an idea that directors are 
only our servants. My opinion is that when you have a good servant the 
best thing to do is to keep him. I say that 2,000 is not sufficient payment. 
The chairman is entitled to 1,500, and the vice-chairman 1,000. Of 
course, at the present time, they will not run away from us, because their 
zeal is in the company. But this wears out sometime. If the Salt Union 
is going to pay a dividend it will be due to the efforts of the directors. The 
extra 1,000 would not mean one penny to each shareholder. Therefore, 
I ask to be allowed to add as a rider to the resolution that the report and 
statement of accounts be received, and that the directors be asked to take 
1,000 as a remuneration for their services. 

The Chairman : I am obliged to Mr. Walker for his kind remarks, but 
I can assure him the directors will not accept any more remuneration until 
the Company is in a better position. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



TWELFTH ANNUAL MEETING AT LIVERPOOL. 

The Twelfth Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders of the above 
Company was held on March i2th, 1901, at the Law Association Rooms, 
Liverpool, to receive the report of the directors with statement of accounts 
and balance sheet, to declare a dividend on the preference shares, to elect 
directors in place of those retiring by rotation, to elect and fix the remunera- 
tion of auditors, and to transact any other ordinary business. The 
Chairman, Mr. Thomas Bland Royden, presided. 

THE DIRECTORS' REPORT. 

Union's Trade in 1900. The Salt Union deliveries in 1900 were 853,000 
tons as compared with 924,000 tons in 1899. The shortage was caused 
mainly by the exceptional difficulty experienced in obtaining ships to carry 
salt to the East Indies. The unfortunate results of the fishing around the 
Scotch and Irish coasts also caused a substantial decline in the sale of fishery 
salt. To most of the other important markets the Union's deliveries show 
a satisfactory increase. 

Cost of Manufacture and Maintenance. Fuel has cost the Union 35,000 
more than in 1899, and the prices of other materials have been corre- 
spondingly high, thus considerably enhancing the cost of manufacturing 
salt. For the same reason the cost of maintenance has exceeded that of 
last year by nearly 7,000. 

The Salt Association for regulating prices has worked fairly well during 
the past year, and negotiations between manufacturers are now proceeding 
for putting it on a more equitable and permanent basis. 

Further reorganization has been effected in the Cheshire salt district, 
where the works sub-committee of directors appointed last year meets 
weekly at Winsford, and less frequently in the smaller salt districts, for 
the purpose of exercising closer supervision over works and operations. 

Gas Producer and Ammonia Recovery Plant. With the object of 
reducing the cost of salt making your directors are negotiating with Dr. 
Mond for the erection of his gas producers, and plant for the recovery of 
ammonia at the Union's Salt Works in Cheshire. Mr. Foster is trying his 
process of vacuum evaporation at Winsford, and if his guarantee of results 
be attained the process will be of substantial advantage for salt manufacture. 

Maintenance of Plant, &c. The district managers have as usual, certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling stock, in 
their several districts, have been maintained, and where necessary renewed, 
during the year 1900. 



1 86 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The amount standing to 
the credit of this account for salt, brine, carriage, and 
sundry trading was 174.074 143. iod., and from other 
sources 21,141 43. id., making the total amount 

After deducting the cost of maintenance of plant, dis- 
tributors' discounts, agency, and other charges set forth 
in the Profit and Loss Account, the profits from all sources 
amount to 

Deduct the debenture stock interest paid on ist July, 
1900, and i st January, 1901 .. 

Leaves a balance of . . 

Your directors recommend that a dividend for the 
year ended 3ist December, 1900, be declared at the rate 
of one per cent, on the preference shares, which will 
require 

And that there be carried forward 



195,215 18 II 



70,227 1 1 6 



54,000 o o 



16,227 ii 6 



10,000 o 
6,227 ii 



16,227 ii 6 



Also that the dividend be payable on and after 3Oth March, 1901, to 
shareholders registerred 25th February. 

The Chairman in moving the adoption of the report said : I first of all 
congratulate the Salt Union and those interested in it that we have for the 
first time for some little time been able to commence paying a dividend on the 
preference shares. It certainly is not a very large one, but I hope it is an 
earnest of better things to come. When it is considered that we have been 
able to do that from the time you did us the honour to appoint the present 
Board you will agree that it is satisfactory. We have made a steady increase 
year by year. In the first year we were not able to make sufficient profit 
to pay the entire debenture interest. The second year we did that and 
carried forward a small balance ; and this year we have done so, and 
propose to pay one per cent, on the preference shares and carry forward a 
small balance. When we consider that this has been done in the face of a, 
considerably diminished trade and the very high prices which have ruled 
for fuel you will agree with me that, at any rate, the best has been made of 
the circumstances. The cost of fuel alone accounts for something like 
35,000 out of our gross profits costing that much more than it did the 
year before, while in that year it cost something more than in the preceding 
year. With regard to the diminished output, I should hope that under 
better circumstances we shall be enabled to increase our trade. But a 
variety of difficulties have kept that back, notably the difficulty of obtaining 
suitable tonnage to send salt to British India. The principal deficiency 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 187 

in trade has been with India, and I am glad to say that, notwithstanding 
that, if you take the diminished salt trade of the whole country, we have 
maintained our percentage of the year before. No doubt the cost of manu- 
facture has, naturally, also been increased, because the cost of iron and 
steel and a variety of different articles which were required to keep our 
barges and our plant in proper order has also been more, and that accounts 
for another 7,000. I mentioned at the last meeting that we were 
endeavouring to negotiate with the other makers of salt with a view of 
placing the trade on a proper basis and a more profitable footing. The 
association that was then formed succeeded fairly well, and I trust that the 
result of that has been to show all concerned that, within proper and 
reasonable limits, the trade may be a much better one and a paying one. 
The other point that I wish to bring before you, because I think it is a very 
important one, is that we are working with a gentleman of great experience, 
Mr. Foster, with a view to producing salt at a cheaper rate. I inspected 
his plant a few days ago, and I am happy to say that he is very sanguine 
that he will be able to fulfil the guarantee he gave us, which if he does, will, 
I think, bring the cost of making salt down very considerably. There is 
also another important matter, and that is the directors are arranging with 
Dr. Mond to put up his apparatus for extracting sulphate of ammonia. I 
think we have a very good guarantee in that gentleman, whose capabilities 
have been shown in the firm with which he is connected, and I trust that 
also may be the opening of a new way of bringing a considerable profit to 
the shareholders of the Salt Union. Of course this will require a certain 
amount of capital, and we have at the present time something like 50,000 
unissued debentures. It may be found necessary in order to put down 
this plant that we should issue these debentures, and I trust the response 
will be such as to secure the support of the preference shareholders and 
ordinary shareholders in helping us to bring about what I consider a very 
profitable arrangement. Now, gentlemen, I should just like to go through 
the accounts with you. 

As to the profit and loss account. The maintenance of plant, as you 
will see, comes to 48,430 145. 5d., against 41,822 us. 4d. Then we have 
administration expenses, management, salaries, stationery, general expenses, 
&c., amounting to 28,407, as against 30,740. Then, with regard to the 
special services of directors (previously included in administration expenses), 
2,200, it was thought by the directors that the special remuneration should 
be a separate item, so that it is clearly understood what it is. We have 
established the Works Committee, consisting of a certain number of the 
directors of the Company, sitting at least once a week in Cheshire or in other 
parts. It was deemed that, by coming into closer contact with the heaviest 
of divisions, and with the staff generally in Cheshire, and other places, it 
would result in a more economical working ; and the result has shown that 
it has been the case. We feel now that we are absolutely in touch with 
all our staff, and any improvements they can suggest, or any information 
we require, we can get, and act upon it at once. The rates and taxes, 

p 



is.s A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

7.222. are nearly the same. The estates' maintenance and rates come to 
^2.567 is. 3d., and the gross profit on salt, brine, carriage and sundry 
trading .174,074 143. lod. against 156,000. With these few remarks I 
beg leave to move : " That the report of the directors, with statement of 
accounts and balance sheet, for the year ended 3ist December, 1900, now 
submitted, be received and adopted." 

Mr. George Henry Cox (deputy chairman) said : I have much pleasure 
in seconding the resolution which the Chairman has just read to you. He 
has gone so fully into the various matters in connection with the business 
of the Union during the last year that, perhaps, it is unnecessary for me 
to say more than a few words. What I would like to allude to, however, 
is the continuation of our work with regard to the reorganization of the 
Union in its various branches, and I have particular pleasure in doing so, 
because a good deal of that work, I dare say some of you know, has fallen 
to my share. I think, as the Chairman has already said, we may con- 
gratulate ourselves upon having effected a great many economies and, at 
the same time, I am satisfied that we have increased the value of the concern. 
I will just mention one item to show you the direction in which we have 
gone. Take the question of salaries alone. Since we came on the Board 
we have reduced the salaries to the amount of ^5,600 odd ; that is the nett 
amount. We have, where we thought it desirable, increased the salaries 
of those rendering efficient service to the Salt Union. We have spent 
considerable money on our craft, and I think it is in better condition than 
it ever has been since the Union was started. I wish to make it clear that 
whilst we have been alive to strict economy in various directions we have 
not skimped expenditure where it was likely to prove a benefit to the Union. 

Mr. Fells : With regard to the directors' fees. I do not think any item 
approaching these figures has appeared in the books since 1891, when the 
Company was practically paying a very good dividend. It works out about 
700 each, and perhaps you will, in your remarks, kindly tell us how that 
is divided, and also what relation it bears to the value of shares the directors 
have in the Company. I think it is a very high charge, and although I admit 
that the gentlemen are of a very excellent character and position they have 
not yet done elementary justice to themselves. The directors have now 
been in power for three years they have had the responsibility of this 
Company for three years and what they are doing to-day is to congratulate 
themselves on having got the Company back to the position of 1897. I 
say you have not done justice to yourselves for this reason. Every year 
we have seen paragraphs about reorganization, but there has been no drastic 
measure dealing with this important measure of reconstruction. Your 
reorganization has left you with an increase of o-id., and last year you 
rather agreed with the suggestion that the only salvation of the Company 
was through a scheme of reconstruction. I would urge this upon you as 
a wise resolve. In considering the further issue of debentures to enable 
you to try a more economical method of salt production, I would ask you 
to consider whether, when there is a known loss on the capital account, 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 189 

the preference and the ordinary shareholders should not divide that loss 
equally. Is it at all fair that with this large loss on capital account you 
should apply your profits by way of dividends without practically having 
dealt with the reconstruction of the Company ? That is a scheme that 
would be worthy of the ability of the gentlemen whom we see before us, 
much more than these small reorganizations involving locomotive visits 
to the works at Winsford at a weekly cost of 14. I ask you to rise more 
to the occasion, and endeavour to deal with these problems in a more solid 
way than by dimissing an official here and an official there. I observe your 
bad debts have increased from ^969 to ^1,500, and that your law and 
parliamentary expenses, which we were told might vanish altogether, have 
increased from 484 to ^1,100. Perhaps you will kindly tell us what law 
and parliamentary work you have been engaged in that have caused this 
increase. There is just one further point I would like to mention, and that 
is I observe for the first time an item in this account : " Fees and expenses 
of debenture trusts." I am not aware of that having been in the accounts 
before. It may perhaps have appeared somewhere else last year ; if not 
I have no doubt that your auditors have wisely insisted that it should appear 
as a separate item. Your previous trustees had no remuneration for their 
services, and the gentlemen who are the present trustees are men of great 
capacity, and ability, and of considerable wealth, and I would suggest that 
in these hard times they may imitate their predecessors. If, on the other 
hand, the item which appears under that head is for some legal gentleman 
who has given some assistance in the past and who is likely to give similar 
assistance in the future, I ask you whether that is a charge that should be 
borne by the ordinary shareholders. Strictly speaking, I think your auditors 
will tell you that that is a charge on your debenture holders, and not the 
ordinary shareholders. Then, as to your decrease in trade, that must have 
a serious effect upon your plant and properties. You don't hold out much 
hope, except the hope which has been held out from year to year that the 
salt trade may increase, and I do ask whether you and your colleagues will 
apply your well-known abilities to the real point in connection with the 
Company the necessity of a reconstruction to deal equitably between the 
preference and ordinary shareholders, and enable you to get the concern 
in a sound position. 

The Chairman said : I am sorry I have not been able to take down 
seriatim the points which Mr. Fells has brought before us. First of all, I 
don't think you clearly understood what I said about the directors' fees. 
The item of ^2,200 includes ^1,500 for special services rendered by Mr. Falk 
and Mr. Ward. We have always included that in the administration 
expenses prior to this year, but the auditors thought that it ought to appear 
as a separate item. Therefore we have taken it out of the administration 
expenses, and put it in its present form. I must join issue with Mr. Fells 
when he says we have only been brought back to the position in which the 
Company stood when we came into office. I am free to confess that I think 
if the directors had known exactly the true position of the Company, I am 



190 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

not sure whether anyone would have been very keen to come on the Board 
at all. for the difficulties of finance were very considerable. While we had an 
overdraft at the bankers, we also had a considerable drawing on our shipping 
agents on accounts of the shipments of salt to Calcutta. As a matter of 
fact we had to bear the burden of that in addition to the Wheelock property 
at ji4,ooo, which we had to pay for. I am happy to say we have got the 
Union in a much better position, and the finances are in a sound position. 
Again, when you quote the gross profit as being 8d. more than then, you 
must remember the additional cost of coal as compared with that period. 
Coal was very cheap then, and if we had coal as cheap to-day we should have 
been able to manufacture our salt at the price of the date you speak of, 
and have shown a magnificent surplus indeed. Now, I come to the main 
point which you have mentioned, and I admit that it is a very difficult and 
thorny question. That is as to reconstruction. I may tell you that it 
has occupied the attention of the directors ever since last year, in conjunction 
with their legal advisers and Messrs. Banner. It appeared as if two courses 
only were open. The first was to wind up the Company and reform it. 
Well, on looking into the matter, so many difficulties presented themselves, 
the question of leases and other property, and a variety of circumstances 
that in my opinion would have produced such a state of things that possibly 
the debenture holders would have been safe, but there would have been 
very little left for the ordinary and the preference shareholders, because 
when you wind up an estate of this magnitude you lose some of your best 
covenants and possibly have claims against you which would be absolutely 
fatal to the large interests of the preference and ordinary shareholders. 
Such a course could not recommend itself to the Board, and that we had to 
entirely give up. Well, then, gentlemen, there was the other method of 
proceeding, and that was by consent, as it were, by three-fourths of the 
gentlemen who have the preference and ordinary shares. What is the 
position ? It has been suggested to me that the debenture holders should 
see their way willingly to reduce their rate to four per cent., and I for one, 
as an ordinary shareholder, would rejoice. But, gentlemen, I am not sanguine 
that that course would commend itself to the debenture holders. Then we 
come to the preference shareholders. I have thrown out a suggestion that 
if they will assist in forming a committee, together with the ordinary share- 
holders, to meet the Board, that they will be most welcome ; and if they 
will come forward with a suggestion that they should take one-half of the 
capital off to put the ordinary shareholders on a fair basis, and if the 
ordinary shareholders will consent to reduce their holding, well then you 
will get a capital suitable to the exigencies of the salt trade. You are just 
as well able to judge as I am, or any gentleman on this platform, whether 
such a course will commend itself to the judgment of the preference share- 
holders and ordinary shareholders. That the nominal capital, so to speak, 
is excessive no one who knows anything about the matter will deny for a 
moment. The value placed on the undertaking, when joined into the 
Company of the Salt Union, may have been high. I have no means of 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 191 

ascertaining upon what basis they went, as I was not then a director of the 
Union. There was a certain amount paid for goodwill, and possibly it was 
done on the assumption that they were to have an absolute monopoly of 
the salt trade. I don't think it was wise or prudent for the original directors 
to have rushed up the price of salt as they did. It provoked opposition 
and brought about the state of things from which we have been suffering. 
But there can be no question that if monopoly is a thing of the past, 
combination may do much ; but if you had an absolute monopoly of the 
salt trade there is no reason why you should not see the state of things that 
existed earlier on. But I am not sanguine that any such monopoly is possible 
under present circumstances, because since that date salt has been found 
in almost every quarter of the globe. Protective duties have been put on, 
and our foreign trade has suffered considerably. The mere fact of reducing 
the capital won't bring in any more revenue. That is perfectly clear. It 
may be a wise thing to do to suit the capital to the needs of the trade, but 
the question is, how far each interest will concede a point to bring about 
that desirable state of things. I venture to say that the Board would be 
very pleased if certain representative gentlemen from the preference share- 
holders and from the ordinary shareholders would form a committee and 
meet, because the whole pith of the thing depends upon coming to an 
amicable arrangement between those two. They can formulate a scheme. 
I throw out this suggestion because as far as we have gone we feel that some 
amicable arrangement of that sort, or amicable suggestion of that kind, 
is the real crux of the whole position and will bring about the good interests 
of all concerned. It would be a very desirable thing to do. 

A Shareholder : I should like to know how the reserve fund, ^108,000, is 
invested. 

The Chairman : It is largely in our property. You will see the large 
balance we have to keep, by looking at our stock of salt, ^86,000. The 
money is invested in the business of the Company. We have something 
like ^20,000 of our debentures bought from time to time out of it. 

Mr. Fells : How about the law expenses and fees ? 

The Chairman : A large amount of it was spent in opposing the Widnes 
Brine Bill. If they could have brought brine across into Lancashire, it 
would have seriously injured Cheshire. The increase is greatly due to that 
matter. 

Mr. J. H. Cooke : There is nothing said in your report respecting the 
soap works you have started at Winsford. I am quite certain they are a 
valuable asset ; but they are not supported as they ought to be. I under- 
stand it would require a considerable amount of money to thoroughly 
advertise this department ; but if the 5 ,000 shareholders would do their 
best to support the works they would bring in a substantial profit to the 
Company. If everyone connected with this concern would buy from their 
grocer the particular class of soap which I can assure you is the best 
possible class of soap made by the Salt Union, and which is sold much 



I 9 2 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

cheaper than those heavily advertised soaps, it would prove highly advan- 
tageous. If the directors will take the matter in hand and support it by 
advertising, we shall be benefited. 

The Chairman : I wish I could give a favourable report. We have tried 
the soap works, and have urged our own travellers, and engaged special 
ones, to push the sales. We have also appealed to the shareholders by 
circulars so as to get the soap sold, but, unfortunately, without any 
appreciable effect. Everything has been done with the exception of largely 
advertising the article, and I am not sure even then we should have done 
any good. It means the spending of 20,000 or 30,000 in advertising. 
The Board did not think it wise to spend that amount. If, however, Mr. 
Cooke has any particular friend likely to purchase the works from us, we 
will sell them at a reasonable rate. 



SCHEME FOR REDUCTION OF CAPITAL. 

At the general meeting of the Company held in March of the present 
year, the chairman foreshadowed a scheme for the reduction of the capital 
of the Company. Since the date of that meeting the directors have made 
a careful enquiry into the values of the Company's assets, with the result 
that they are prepared to discuss with the shareholders, or a committee to 
be appointed by them, a scheme for the reduction of the capital of the 
Company, on the following lines : 

On the best estimate they are able at present to make of the depreciation 
of the Company's assets, they consider at least 1,400,000 of the Company's 
capital should be written off. 

In round figures the following is their provisional estimate : 

Estimate approxi- 
mate depreciation 
Book Value, and reduction 

proposed. 
Freehold and leasehold properties, goodwill, 

works, machinery, plant, etc. .. .. 3,473,996 1,067,275 

Acquisition of distribution businesses and 

covenants with vendors .. .. .. I3,353 I3O-353 

Surplus freehold Estates . . . . . . 107,267 32,267 

Investments in other salt trading and carrying 

companies .. .. .. .. 134,807 64,807 

Steamers, barges and appliances .. .. 163,692 48,692 

Rolling stock 126,606 56,606 



4,136,721 1,400,000 

It is manifest that to replace the depreciation out of surplus earnings 
over and above fixed charges would take a number of years, and in the 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 193 

meantime no dividends would be paid on the preference share capital or 
on the ordinary share capital. A large reduction of the share capital 
therefore appears to be necessary. 

The directors suggest that the most practical way of reducing the Capital 
will be by writing down the ordinary and preferred stock in proportions to 
be hereafter agreed upon. 

Of the several schemes of reduction which the directors have considered, 
they commend the following to the consideration of the shareholders : 

Income 
Required. 

A. Debenture stock ) / /i, 000,000 /45,ooo 

No change. .' 

B. Debenture stock | 200,000 9,000 

SCHEME OF REDUCTION. 

7% preference shares (reduced from i ,000,000 to 

^700,000) . . . . . . . . . . 700,000 49,000 

Ordinary shares (reduced from ^2,000,000 to 

i ,000,000) . . . . . . . . . . i ,000,000 



^2,900,000 ^103,000 

Other schemes have been considered which involve applications for 
Parliamentary Powers, and the Board think that in case any of these other 
schemes is approved it is desirable to give Parliamentary Notices for the 
ensuing Session, and this they will proceed to do. But the scheme set out 
will not, if carried, require Parliamentary sanction. 

As the interest of both classes of shares is affected by the proposed 
alterations, the directors will propose to the meeting that the ordinary 
shareholders and the preference shareholders shall appoint a committee 
of two or three persons from each class to represent them, and that it should 
be delegated to such committee (to whom the Board will afford all such 
information as they may reasonably require) to confer with the directors 
and to report to a subsequent meeting whether the proposed reductions are 
fair and reasonable. 

By order of the Board, 

H. BOWMAN, 

Secretary. 
LIVERPOOL, i2th November, 1901. 



194 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

THE REDUCTION OF CAPITAL. 

SCHEME APPROVED BY SHAREHOLDERS. 

On February 4th, 1902, meetings of preference and ordinary share- 
holders, followed by a separate general meeting, were held in the Large 
Hall, Exchange Station Hotel, Liverpool, to consider the report prepared 
by the special committee, and to pass resolutions confirming provisional 
agreements for the reduction of the capital, and for modifying the rights 
and privileges attached to the preference and ordinary shares. 

COMMITTEE'S REPORT. 

The report of the committee appointed at the extraordinary general 
meeting of the shareholders of the Company, held on the ipth day of 
November, 1901, read 

By the resolution under which your committee were appointed they 
were charged with the duty of reporting on a scheme for the reduction of 
capital which might commend itself to them and the directors. After 
careful consideration the committee submit the following report : 

The directors considered that at least i ,400,000 should be written 
off, and your committee after consultation with Mr. Harmood Banner 
recommended that 1,600,000 be written off. The figures as altered 
have also been approved by the auditors. 

Of the many schemes of reduction which they have considered, the 
committee and the directors have unanimously approved the following ; 
and it has further had the approval of such of the large shareholders as they 
have been able to consult. 

Income 
Required. 

A. Debenture stock i f 1,000,000 45,000 

No change. 

B. Debenture stock ) ( 200,000 9,000 

SCHEME OF REDUCTION. 
7 per cent, preference shares (reduced from 
1,000,000 to 600,000, that is from 10 to 
6 a share) . . . . . . . . . . 600,000 42,000 

(subject to 
increase, 
as herein 
provided). 
Ordinary shares (reduced from 2,000,000 to 

800,000, that is from 10 to 4 a share) . . 800,000 



2,600,000 96,000 

After payment of the debenture interest of 54,000, and the preference 
dividend of 42,000, the further profits to be divided as follows : 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 195 

Half to go to the preference Shareholders until they have received their 
full original preference dividend of 70,000 ; the other half and all further 
profits to belong to the ordinary shareholders. 

The committee and the directors are unanimously of opinion that this 
scheme is one which is fair and reasonable in the interests of both classes 
of shareholders, in view of the present condition of the company. 

The following examples will show the working of the scheme : Assuming 
the directors recommend the sum of 42,000 for distribution after payment 
of the interest on the debenture stock, the whole of it would go to the 
preference shareholders, e.g., 
To the preference shareholders : 

7 per cent, on 600,000 . . . . . . 42,000 

To the ordinary shareholders : 

Nil Nil 

42,000 

Should the sum be 70,000, it would be divided as follows : 
To the preference shareholders : 

7 per cent, on 600,000 . . . . . . 42,000 

Half of the further balance . . . . 14,000 

56,000 
To the ordinary shareholders : 

The other half of the further balance 14,000 



70,000 

Should the sum be 100,000, then the preference shareholders having 
received their full original preference dividend, the division would be : 
To the preference shareholders : 

7 per cent, on 600,000 . . . . 42,000 

Half of the next 56,000 to make up the 

original dividend . . . . 28,000 

70,000 
To the ordinary shareholders : 

The balance of 30,000 



100,000 

The committee desire to say that all information required by them has 
been placed unreservedly at their disposal, and in their deliberations they 
have had the assistance of Mr. Hannood Banner and Mr. H. D. Bateson, 
and every facility has been afforded them by the directors. 

WM. S. MCDOWELL. 

R. E. MORRIS. 

JOHN WHITEHEAD. 

WILSON SINGLETON. 

ARCHD. F. COGHILL. 
Liverpool, ipth December, 1901. 



196 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

MEETING OF PREFERENCE SHAREHOLDERS. 

The first meeting held was that of the preference shareholders, of whom 
a considerable number attended. The chairman of the Company, Mr. T. 
B. Royden, presided, and he was supported by Mr. Geo. Hy. Cox (deputy 
chairman), Herman John Falk, John Holt, Archibald Roxburgh, Thos. 
Ward (directors), H. Bowman (secretary), A. E. Showell (accountant), H 
D. Bateson (solicitor), and A. Harmood Banner (auditor). 

The chairman, in commencing the proceedings, said : Gentlemen, at 
our last general meeting a committee was appointed to consider the scheme 
which the directors laid before the shareholders, and that committee, 
representing both preference and ordinary shareholders, I am glad to say, 
came to a unanimous decision to recommend the scheme laid before you. 
It is necessary according to the Articles of Association that we should have 
special meetings of both classes of shareholders, preference and ordinary, 
and this, as you know, is the meeting of the preference shareholders to approve 
or otherwise of the agreement entered into on their behalf by Mr. Morris, 
stating the manner in which they propose to reduce the capital. I will 
first ask the secretary to read the notice convening the meeting. 

Mr. H. Bowman (secretary) then read the following : Notice is hereby- 
given that a separate general meeting of the holders of the preference shares 
in the above-named company will be held at the Large Hall, Exchange 
Station Hotel, Liverpool, on Thursday, the 3Oth day of January, 1902, at 
eleven o'clock, for the purpose of considering and if thought fit passing 
(pursuant to the provisions of Clause 46 of the Articles of Association) an 
extraordinary resolution confirming a provisional agreement dated the ipth 
day of December, 1901, and made between Reginald E. Morris on behalf 
of all the holders of the preference shares in the Company of the one part 
and the Company of the other part, whereby provision is made for the passing 
by the Company of a special resolution in the terms below set forth, for the 
reduction of its capital, and for modifying the rights and privileges attached 
to such preference shares. 

The Chairman : The first thing I have to ascertain is that we have a 
sufficient number present to form a quorum under the articles. We have 
proxies on the table. It requires two-thirds to constitute a quorum, and 
we have more than two-thirds present either in person or by proxies sent to 
the directors. Perhaps you would like to know the number of shares the 
proxies represent. It is 74,483, or ^744,830 of capital. Mr. Oldham also 
represents 1,150, Mr. J. B. Preston 50, and Mr. John Morison Caw 250, in 
addition to the numbers I have given. Perhaps you would like the agree- 
ment of the 1 9th December between Mr. R. E. Morris and the Company to 
be read by Mr. Bateson, or will you take it as read ? You have all had it. 

A Shareholder : Take it as read. 

The Chairman : Is that the pleasure of the meeting ? (Agreed.) Now 
gentlemen, it remains only for me to propose : " That the provisional 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 197 

agreement submitted to this meeting, dated the igth day of December, 
1901, and made between Reginald E. Morris on behalf of all the holders of 
the preference shares in the Company of the one part and the Company of 
the other part, be and the same is hereby confirmed." 

Mr. G. H. Ball : I am one of the original shareholders but have never 
attended any of these meetings before, and both I and several other gentlemen 
cannot understand the nature of this arrangement. 

The Chairman : Then I think we had better read the agreement. I 
thought it was pretty clearly stated. What are the principal points on 
which you require information ? 

Mr. Ball : You propose to reduce the capital value of the preference 
shares, which will be a considerable loss, in order to help up some of the 
others. Some people do not think it fair to the preference shareholders. 
I do not want to put any objection to the carrying of the resolution, but I 
should like to know exactly what the position is. 

The Chairman : Then we had better read the agreement. I will ask Mr. 
Bateson to do so. 

Mr. Harold D. Bateson (solicitor to the Company) proceeded to read 
the agreement, which was in the following terms : 

An agreement made the I9th day of December, 1901, between Reginald 
Edwin Morris on behalf of himself and all the other holders of preference 
shares in the Company next mentioned of the one part and the Salt Union 
Limited (hereinafter called " the Company ") of the other part, whereby it 
is agreed as follows : 

(i) The Company shall be at liberty to pass special resolutions in the 
terms following (that is to say) : (I.) That the capital of the Company be 
reduced to 1,400,000 and that such reduction be effected by cancelling 
the capital lost or unrepresented by available assets to the extent of 4 in 
respect of each of the preference shares in the Company and to the extent 
of 6 in respect of each of the ordinary shares in the Company, and by 
reducing the nominal amount of the preference shares to 6 per share and 
the nominal amount of the ordinary shares to 4 per share ; (II.) That as 
from the time when such reduction is confirmed by the Court the preference 
shares of reduced amount shall in lieu of their present dividend rights carry 
the right to a fixed preferential dividend at the rate of 7 per cent, per annum 
on the capital paid up thereon, payable as regards each year out of profits 
of that year available for dividend, and the right to have half the surplus 
profits of each year available for dividend applied so far as necessary in 
making up the dividend on such preference shares for that year to what it 
would have been if the reduction aforesaid had not taken place, namely, to 
7 per cent, on the original nominal value, and that the residue of the profits 
of each year available for dividend be applicable to the payment of dividend 
on the ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the regulations, 
for the time being in that behalf. 



198 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

(2) The rights and privileges attached to the preference shares in the 
Company shall be modified so far as necessary to allow of the passing of 
such special resolutions and so far as necessary to give effect to those 
resolutions when passed. 

(3) The Company is to convene the requisite meetings for passing the 
resolutions for reduction aforesaid. 

(4) Unless this agreement is before the 3ist day of March next confirmed 
by an extraordinary resolution passed at a separate meeting of the holders 
of the preference shares in the Company in accordance with Clause 46 of 
the Company's Articles of Association it shall become void. 

The Chairman : It would be more in order if we had the resolution 
seconded, and I shall then be happy to answer any question any share- 
holders may desire to put. 

Mr. R. E. Morris : I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution, 
because by carrying it we shall make the profits available for distribution. 

Mr. R. G. West : It appears to me the meeting should see clearly what 
the point in the scheme is. That is to say, it has two bearings upon capital 
and dividend. In regard to capital it simply comes into operation if the 
Company be liquidated. In that case the ordinary shareholders will lose 
two twenty-firsts, that is the difference between two-thirds and four- 
sevenths of the available surplus assets. At present they would have two- 
thirds of the surplus available and distributable assets, while under this 
scheme they would have four-sevenths, and the difference between those 
two proportions is two twenty-firsts, that is between one-tenth and one- 
eleventh. That seems to me a very small consideration, and the preference 
shareholders might forego it. The total advantage of the scheme is for 
the ordinary shareholders, because after ^42,000 was distributed to the 
preference shareholders they would have one-half of the remaining profits up 
to ^19,000, and all the profits beyond that. As a matter of fact it would not in 
the slightest degree matter to the ordinary shareholders, apart from a question 
of liquidation, how far their capital was reduced. It is purely a nominal matter. 
You have explained that to us in previous meetings. It does not alter the 
assets and earnings, it is purely a paper matter. The only point is as to the 
dividend they receive after the preference shareholders are satisfied, and 
it is simply a percentage. We are obliged to purchase the assent of the 
ordinary shareholders by some concession, but we are giving them a very 
large concession. There is another matter which is germane to the point, 
and I shall not be out of order in mentioning it the constitution and interest 
on the part of the Board and the Committee. The Board hold, or did some 
very short time ago, 150 preference shares and 2,571 ordinary shares. The 
Committee hold 1,708 preference and 4,260 ordinary shares. One member 
of the Committee only holds preference shares to the amount of 508, and 
two members of the Committee hold ordinary shares to the amount of 2,900. 
As far as interest is concerned, as stimulating the direction of the votes, it 
is very largely in favour of the ordinary shareholder. Of course one does 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 199 

not want to impute anything, one supposes the balance is fairly held between 
the two classes, but I think it right the shareholders here who are about to 
consent to or object to the scheme should have such points before them, and 
I know by conversation with shareholders that these points have escaped 
many. 

The vote was then taken and the resolution was carried with one dis- 
sentient. 

Mr. West : I will withdraw my opposition. 

The Chairman : Then I declare the resolution carried unanimously. 



MEETING OF ORDINARY SHAREHOLDERS. 

The meeting of ordinary shareholders was held in the same place at noon, 
Mr. T. B. Royden again presiding. There was a large attendance. 

The Chairman : Gentlemen, as I explained at the previous meeting, we 
have, by the Articles of Association, to hold separate meetings of the two 
distinct classes of shareholders preference and ordinary with the view to 
agreeing, or otherwise, with the agreement which has been come to by Mr. 
McDowell on behalf of the ordinary shareholders of the Company. The first 
thing I have to do is to ascertain that this meeting is legally constituted, 
with the necessary quorum to perform the business. Proxies have been 
received by the directors representing 146,510 votes, or ^1,465,100 of 
capital ; and in addition to that Mr. John Morison Caw represents 300 votes ; 
Mr. Wm. Caldwell 85 votes, Mr. McDermid 350, Mr. John Allcock 150, Mr. 
A. Robinson 384, and Mr. \V. Millikin 1,930. It is necessary to have two- 
thirds of the whole, and we have that number, and well over it. Now, I am 
privileged to propose : " That the provisional agreement submitted to this 
meeting, dated the igth December, 1901, and made between William Samuel 
McDowell, on behalf of all the holders of the ordinary shares in the Company 
of the one part, and the Company of the other part, be and the same is 
hereby confirmed." 

Mr. McDowell : I have much pleasure in seconding that resolution. The 
Committee which was appointed to consider this scheme, put before the 
shareholders to-day, have gone very carefully into the matter, and have done 
what they considered was absolutely fair to both classes of shareholders. I 
would ask the ordinary shareholders present to-day not to consider just 
what is to their own interest not to look through their own glasses only 
but to look through the glasses of both ordinary and preference shareholders ; 
and if they will do so, and consider the scheme from that point of view, I 
am sure they will admit that this is probably one of the most fair schemes 
that could possibly be brought before them, and I trust that they will give it 
their unanimous support. 

The Chairman : Although you have had this agreement in your hands, 
the course I adopted at the last meeting was to ask Mr. Bateson to read it 



aoo A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

over, so that you should have it fresh in your minds. I will ask him to do so 
on this occasion. 

Mr. H. D. Bateson then read the agreement, which was in similar terms 
to the one submitted to the preference shareholders. 

Mr. Millikin : Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, speaking for Irish share- 
holders and I represent some 19,000 worth of shares, and think I am 
speaking for between 30,000 and 40,000 worth I wish to thank the 
advisory Committee for the trouble they have taken over this reconstruction 
scheme, and I am only sorry that I cannot support it in its entirety. I think 
a point has been stretched in favour of the preference shareholders. This 
must also be the view of the directors, seeing that they, with the advice of 
their auditors, solicitors and experts, recommended at our last meeting that 
after 49,000 per annum had been paid on the preference shares, the balance 
of profit divisible should be distributed amongst the ordinary shares. It is 
admitted that the Union has, and has had, no monopoly of the salt trade for 
many years, if at all ; and judging from past figures it is unlikely that the 
profits of the Company will average as much as 80,000 per annum for any 
period of years ; and this is taken on the average of ten years' trading five 
years' good trading and five years' indifferent trading in the last ten years. 
If, then, you give the preference shareholders 42,000, and halve the differ- 
ence between that and 80,000, the ordinary shareholders will get practically 
nothing in the shape of interest on their capital. Two-thirds of the capital of 
the Company at present belongs to the ordinary shareholders, but under this 
scheme they will be entitled to only four-sevenths. Where, then, does the 
compensation come in ? The ordinary shareholders are giving up their right 
to appropriate the entire immediate revenue of the Company to the reinstal- 
ment of the floating capital, which the chairman at the last meeting told us 
would require a very large sum. Such appropriate earnings would then be- 
come the actual property of the ordinary shareholder. The distribution of 
dividends in the past on the preference shares, at the expense of depreciation 
of value, renewal of plant, unfulfilled covenants, &c., are losses the repayment 
of which can be enforced. I think, and my clients think, these things justify 
us in asking the preference shareholders to forego something under this 
scheme they give us literally nothing. Now, Mr. Chairman, those whom I 
represent have carefully considered this matter, and seeing that these pre- 
ference shares are not cumulative, nor have they preferential rights in the 
capital, have decided to oppose this scheme, and to recommend that the 
profits be allowed to accumulate against the acknowledged depreciation to 
reinstate the assets represented by floating capital. Now, gentlemen, I would 
ask you all to support me in encouraging the directors to take heart of grace 
by the example of a kindred company Eastmans, where the preference 
shares are 8 per cent, and cumulative. No dividends were paid on the 8 per 
cent, cumulative preference shares for some time, and no ordinary dividends 
for a short time ; and that company has now paid up nearly all the arrears 
of dividend. Encourage the directors therefore to take the course I suggest, 
and I believe we shall all benefit by it. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 201 

Mr. Robinson (Dublin) : I have great pleasure in supporting my friend 
on the right. I have not had the pleasure of meeting him before, but I also 
represent a number of Irish shareholders. They all follow the directors so 
far as the directors' scheme is proposed to the extent of the preference share- 
holder getting 7 per' cent, on the reduced value of his shares, but I think it is 
rather unheard of, at least I never heard of a scheme, where with a reduced 
value put on the shares, the shareholders might still get the full dividend 
on the original value of the shares. I quite agree that the preference share- 
holder is entitled to his preference dividend. I support that, and I would 
oppose anything to the contrary, but the ordinary shareholders also ought 
to have some consideration, and I think you should give us a deferred dividend 
of 3 or 4 per cent., or what you like, and then let the surplus be divided 
between the two classes of shares. We represent ^2,000,000 of capital, and 
the preference shareholders ; 1,000,000, and you practically seek to wipe us 
out. One of you gentlemen, at the last meeting I think, was talking about 
navigating our ship into port, but it strikes me that you are going to throw 
the steerage passengers overboard in order to preserve the cabin passengers. 
Let us all be in the same boat. We are now in the same boat, and the crux 
of the position is this : It was laid down by our worthy chairman that the 
preference shareholders cannot be paid any dividend unless this scheme is 
carried, so as I say we are all in the same boat, and practically you will be 
in no worse a position, because supposing the preference shareholder gets 
7 per cent., the ordinary shareholder gets 4 per cent., and if then the surplus 
be divided the preference shareholder gets 2 per cent, more, and on the 
nominal value of the shares that would be about 9^ per cent, for the pre- 
ference shareholder, as compared with about i per cent, for the ordinary 
shareholder. That is the position we are fighting for. I should be very 
sorry to see this scheme wrecked, but, of course, it is at the same time better 
to wreck it than to commit suicide. 

Mr. Keet : Would you allow me, sir, to make a few remarks in opposing 
this scheme. I promise that I shall be very brief and speak to the point. 
First, I wish to acknowledge the courtesy with which I have been received 
by certain large shareholders who have allowed me to confer with them, and, 
especially our chairman, who is fully deserving of the high esteem and respect 
in which he is held in this city. Now I rise to oppose this scheme for the 
simple reason that I for one prefer the substance to the shadow, and I apply 
that remark in this way. The scheme gives to the preference shareholders 
a substantial amount of our coin, and they give in exchange the mere shadow 
of a dividend. . . . We are told that the present assets of the Company, after 
dealing with the debentures, are only ^1,400,000. That is the present 
estimated value of the assets. I may say before I go further that all my 
arguments are based upon the statement printed and circulated. Now, our 
chairman has given us to understand that a great part of the depreciation, 
which is ;i, 600,000, has to be made good legally, but let us assume that 
that proportion is only ^800,000. Well, if you add ^800,000 to the 
;i, 400,000 you then get ^2,200,000, and by the present arrangement the 



202 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

ordinary shareholders in case of the assets being distributed would be entitled 
to two-thirds, which amounts to 1,450,000, and yet the ordinaries are asked 
to be content with 800,000. That is, they are asked to sacrifice 666,000 
for the benefit of the preference shareholders. Now, what is the position of 
the preference shareholders ? Their position is simply this, and here again 
I refer to our directors' statement that the dividend cannot be paid until 
either of two things is done, either the capital must be reduced or the depre- 
ciation must be made up to a large extent, and so far as one can count it may 
take ten or fifteen years to make up that depreciation, and if the depreciation 
is not made up the preference shareholders will have to go without their 
dividend for that time. Yet this schome provides that they shall at once 
come into possession of an annual sum of about 42,000, or probably a little 
more, which will absorb all the profits, leaving nothing for the ordinaries. 
Then, as I submitted just now, at present they are only entitled to one-third 
of the assets, but, as Mr. Millikin pointed out, under the new arrangement 
they are to have a distinctly larger share in the assets of the Company. Then, 
in regard to the apportionment of this depreciation, why do some people 
think that i ,200,000 should go to the debit of the ordinaries, and only 
400,000 to the debit of the preference shareholders. The result at present is 
that if the assets should be distributed, one-third will go to the preference, 
and two-thirds to the ordinaries. The obvious result would be that one- 
third of the loss should be incurred by the preference, as against two-thirds 
by the ordinaries. Why should the preference shareholders in this case 
have less than one-third of the loss ? Then we come to the question of the 
earning power of the Company. Five per cent, on 1,400,000 is about 
70,000 a year. Why should we expect that we are going to get a larger 
earning power than that out of this Company ? ... In conclusion, gentlemen, 
I urge the rejection of this scheme because it fails to secure a fair dividend 
to the ordinary shareholders. It reduces the ordinary shares from four- 
sixths to four-sevenths, which means a difference of i 50,000 in value in case 
of a winding up or dissolution. It provides for the preference shareholders 
good dividends over their 600,000 of capital retained in the Company, and 
the bulk of the depreciation falls upon the ordinary shareholders in the 
Company. Then the scheme does not provide for a renewal of leases, and it 
does not provide for depreciation or renewal of machinery-plant, boilers, 
barges, and other properties which are continually deteriorating, and I 
believe our directors admit that it will be necessary in time to have new 
machinery and new barges, and also other renewals which we ought to have 
some funds to provide for. Then it does not provide apparently for taking 
advantage of any new processes, or new machinery, or for an adequate 
reserve fund. Then again, I urge that it is dangerous for a Company with a 
capital of only 1,400,000 to have debentures to the amount of 1,200,000. 
Let me remind you that there are many companies which have done very 
different to this, and I submit that it would pay the preference shareholders 
to agree to better terms for the ordinary shareholders, rather than sacrifice 
their dividends for ten or fifteen years, which is the alternative they have to face. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 203 

Mr. McDermid (Glasgow) : I hold a few hundred shares, sir, and repre- 
sent a few hundred more, but I don't think, at the same time, that I am 
entitled to take up much of the time of the meeting. We Scotch people think 
that this scheme is not at all satisfactory. It may be the best that can be 
presented ; but, as amended by the Committee, it is a very drastic measure ; 
and one would imagine that it was the work of the preference shareholders 
alone instead of mostly ordinary stockholders. This fact does not make the 
scheme an agreeable one for the ordinary shareholders. Still, it goes a long 
way in the reminding us that half a loaf is better than no bread ; and another 
thing is that the Committee have had the facts and figures to go upon which 
cannot judiciously be made public. But there are other questions which 
arise ; and I would like to see it settled now in proper legal form. An 
important point is the maintenance of an equal ratio of right in the capital. 
By the proposed scheme, as adjusted, each preference share has a capital 
ownership of three-sevenths, as against a capital ownership of two-sevenths 
per ordinary share ; whilst ordinary shares are double the number of 
preference shares. In view of certain contingencies, such as the sale of the 
Company, that is a very important point ; and we wish to reserve the right 
to call our shares of the face value of 6 at any future time without requiring 
the consent of the preference shareholders ; and we would like the chairman 
to promise that the solicitors of the Company will be instructed to secure this 
right in proper legal form. In the second place the expenditure on new 
works, &c., must not be taken out of revenue, but should be contributed to 
by both classes of shareholders or raised by debentures, and thirdly a reserve 
fund should be created by a percentage out of the dividends accruing on each 
class of stock. If these three suggestions are accepted, I am prepared to 
accept the amended scheme as the best which the five wise men can find us 
under the circumstances. The present position of the Salt Union, and the 
brighter prospects before it, do not justify the ordinary shareholders in 
asking for any favours from the preference shareholders, but we do desire 
that our just and legal rights should be duly maintained 

Mr. A. Armour (Liverpool) : I would like, sir, to point out to this meeting 
that it is entirely impossible for this concern to go on unless the ordinary 
shareholders can come to some agreement. . . I would just like to mention 
two things which you ought to remember. When the scheme was first 
brought out by the directors I confess candidly that I did not agree with it, 
and I ventured to suggest what I thought was a better scheme, but the 
scheme which is now before us, I may say, has met with very general approval 
on the part of the best financial authorities in London, and I think that is 
something. You have also the further fact that your shares, since the last 
meeting, have increased in value by something like 10 per cent. ... I am 
not an original shareholder in any department, and it would be very con- 
ceited of me to say I have more sense than they, but the men who formed 
this Company are the men to blame. They floated a scheme where the 
ordinary shares were only the price of the goodwill. A ridiculous price it 
was, but you must remember that you are in honour bound to the preference 

Q 



204 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

shareholders. To all intents there is a commercial covenant to pay 7 per 
cent., and I wish to press upon you distinctly that there are only three courses 
before us : to accept this proposal, which I hope you will ; or to await 
twenty years and I am afraid there are few in this room who will wait 
that long for a dividend ; or to wind up or dispose of the Company. 

Mr. Caldwell : I contend that this scheme is entirely in the interests of 
the preference shareholders, and if we are to stand still and take this scheme, 
we may shut up for ever, for we shall never get a penny. But I am prepared 
for this that if the directors can see their way clear to drop the division 
of profits after the preference shareholders have got their 7 per cent, on the 
6 shares and then let the remainder go to the ordinary shareholders then 
I believe the present ordinary shareholders will follow them ; but beyond 
that I don't think they will go ; and if this is persisted in, I think the thing 
will be wrecked, indeed I feel certain it will unless something just as I have 
suggested is done. 

Mr. W. H. Davey : Mr. Chairman, I am not a very large shareholder now. 
I held something over 200 shares ; I sold part of my holding at a very great 
loss. I now hold 50 preference and 25 ordinary shares. I do not regret 
losing the money, because I have always thought a time would come when 
things would improve. We have gone through bad times ; but with the 
guidance of yourself and your colleagues, I believe matters now will improve. 
I feel, sir, that you have done your duty, and the directors and the Com- 
mittee also ; and I don't think they are serving their own ends in any way, 
but are striving to do their best in the interests of both classes of share- 
holders. I have been considering this matter with reference to both classes 
preference and ordinary and I think a reasonable solution of the difficulty 
would be for the preference shareholders to take their 7 per cent, on their 
reduced holding, and that any surplus profit divisible should go to the 
ordinary shareholders, or if it were put this way that after the preference 
shareholders have had their 7 per cent, on their reduced holding, then the 
ordinary shareholders should have up to 4 per cent., and then the preference 
shareholders might come in for a further interest if there was money left to 
divide. 

Mr. Watson : If the preference shareholders' capital is reduced to 6 per 
share, the balance of 4 per share has gone for ever, and the ordinary capital 
is reduced too, but they get the advantage of any improvement in the value 
of the shares, as well as of any extra profit which may be made, and that is 
very important, because any surplus over the dividend on the 6 per share 
would go to the ordinary shareholders, and the preference shareholders would 
be simply reduced to 6 per share, and the interest on that 6, which would 
be giving up their birthright simply giving it away. It would be most 
unfair and unjust that the preference shareholders should be asked to give 
away 4 per share whilst the ordinary shareholders were not to give away 
anything, because any improvement in the assets of the Company would be 
exclusively for their benefit. I may say that I am both an ordinary and 
preference shareholder. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 205 

Mr. Tinker : Well, sir, it seems to me that the ordinary shareholders have 
been in a salt pickle for a very long time, and it seems to me that what the 
Company have recommended will put them in a further pickle. They may 
be permitted to exist, but that is all, and any prospect of getting a dividend 
under this arrangement has to my mind utterly vanished. I have been 
watching the Salt Union for a great number of years, and I do not see the 
remotest prospect whatever of the ordinary shareholders in the Salt Union 
getting any dividend for a long time to come. It must be a very recuperative 
and prosperous concern if it is going to make 200,000 a year, which would 
leave 50,000 towards the 70,000 according to the scheme. . . . The point 
that strikes my mind is this, that the ordinary shareholders are asked to 
give up 1,200,000 of their capital to wipe off the depreciation, and to enable 
the preference shareholders forthwith to receive their dividend, according 
to the circular. As to the 42,000, they have a right to it under the present 
circumstances, and I do not object to that, but I say that if 70,000 is earned, 
then the whole of that balance beyond the 7 per cent, on the 6 preference 
shares should go to the ordinary shareholders. As the matter now stands 
the preference shareholders can only get 70,000 under any circumstances, 
that is 7 per cent, on 1,000,000 of capital. The present proposal is that 
they may in certain eventualities continue to receive that 70,000, which 
would be considerably more than 7 per cent, on their then holding, and yet 
in face of that proposal the ordinary shareholders are asked to wipe off 
1,200,000 of their capital in order to put the preference shareholders in a 
position to begin to receive their dividends forthwith. I say that it is not 
fair. I notice some gentleman shakes his head. That, however, seems to be 
the statement of your circular, and I cannot see anything to the contrary. 

Mr. Armour : The preference shareholders are entitled to the whole 
dividend now. 

Mr. Tinker : My contention is that if the ordinary shareholders are to 
give up 1,200,000 of capital, in order that the preference shareholders may 
receive dividends forthwith, they are standing in their own light. The 
preference shareholders should meet them in this matter. If the preference 
shareholders have their shares reduced from 10 to-6, but immediately get 
7 per cent, on these reduced shares, they are relatively in a distinctly better 
position than the ordinary shareholders, who will have to wait, for a long 
period certainly, before they can obtain any dividend at all. 

Dr. McDougall : As an original ordinary shareholder I should like to say 
a few words. I do not think it is just to the shareholders here that we should 
go back upon the past history of the Company. I do not think the share- 
holders would be doing justice to themselves to allow this. As a matter of 
fact, according to your balance sheets, you have never represented that there 
was either capital lost or unrepresented. It was represented in various 
things, and I do not think you would be willing to do injustice to yourselves 
or your predecessors by representing that it was capital that was lost. If 
lost it should have been represented in the balance sheet. The fact is, I 



ao6 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

take it. capital was never there. It means that, as a fact, the capital of the 
Company was over-valued to the extent of ^1,600,000, that is really what it 
amounts to. I think the gentlemen here have overlooked the fact that 
although the Company had markets, they appear to have lost them simply 
and solely because they raised the price of salt to such an extent that other 
producers got into those markets and undersold them. That is still taking 
place to-day. 

The Chairman : Before I put the resolution to the vote I would like to 
reply to a few remarks which have been made. I shall not occupy your time 
in making any reference to the past history of the Company. That is in no 
way a personal matter. I had nothing to do with it except to take shares, 
and I cannot allow the remark to go that there was nothing to represent the 
ordinary share capital, because I think that would be unfair to the gentlemen 
who first brought out this Company. There is no doubt that the prices 
paid for the works then were large, but it was in the belief that the Company 
possessed an absolute monopoly of the salt trade in England, and if that 
monopoly could have been maintained, well I daresay they might have been 
justified, but that will not bring us any profit or any consolation at the 
present time. What we have to deal with, as men of business, is what is the 
best thing to do for all classes of shareholders in the Salt Union, Limited, 
having due regard to the rights of both ? We are discussing the rights now 
of the ordinary shareholders. There are two very important points on which 
I think there is some little confusion of idea and of opinion. First, as to the 
rights of the ordinary shareholders. We have been very careful to preserve 
the rights of the ordinary shareholders in this scheme, inasmuch as they 
possess the same voting power in anything which concerns the Company as 
they have done from the first. The reduction of capital, and of the value 
of the shares, whether preference or ordinary, in no wise interferes with the 
voting power. I think that will be an answer to one gentleman, I forget his 
name that we have preserved that right. The next point is with regard to 
the surplus assets after paying the debenture debt. Well, gentlemen, 
undoubtedly if the Company ever comes to be wound up, you will get as 
8 to 6. That is quite true, but, gentlemen, I contend that that is a thing in 
the far distant future. I don't think anyone has the least idea at the present 
moment of winding up his Company. Furthermore, if anything happens 
that it should become necessary to wind it up who are the people who are 
going to stop the winding up, or to put it forward ? The ordinary share- 
holder. His votes command the position ; and therefore he will take very 
good care that it is not wound up ; and this difficulty does not arise unless 
he sees an immediate advantage to himself. Therefore I think we may throw 
aside altogether the consideration of the relative part of the assets you would 
get. I don't know, if it came to be wound up under a wrecking sale, there 
would be very much for anybody. Possibly there might be if it were well 
sold, but that contingency cannot arise without the assent and the consent 
of the ordinary shareholder, and therefore he has his own protection in his 
own hands. Then another point which one gentleman made was this he 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 207 

said the ordinary shareholder was giving up everything, and the preference 
shareholder was giving up practically nothing. Now let us consider that for 
a moment. What is the position ? You have undertaken to pay these 
gentlemen 70,000 a year out of the profits every year that you make that 
amount, and if it does not come to 70,000, you have to give them all the 
profit until it reaches 70,000. Now you have asked them in fairness to give 
up some of that ; and I say they have come forward very fairly, and said 
" Very well, we are willing to accept instead of 70,000 a year, 42,000 ; and 
divide with you after that until we get our full dividend." What does that 
mean ? It means, as was pointed out here, that it would take a very good 
year to get a very much greater profit then the debenture interest and 70,000 
a year. It means that the ordinary shareholders, as one gentleman remarked, 
unless it was a very prosperous year, would never come into any dividend at 
all, or not until after, I think he put it, fifteen or twenty years. I am not 
going to prophesy but I don't think it would be that long but if you don't 
pass this scheme, the preference shareholders will monopolize all up to 
70,000 a year, and you will be indefinitely postponed. 

A Shareholder : Only for one year. 

The Chairman : I am rather sanguine myself, but I am not so sanguine 
as my friend. I venture to predict a good many years ; and then not only 
does the preference shareholder give up that to you, but he is giving part of 
his capital ; and it is pointed out that in the event of prosperity coming again 
to the Salt Union, the ordinary shareholder will get his shares advanced by 
the better price they will bring in the share market. I think that the pre- 
ference shareholder does give up very considerable interests, and if you come 
to the difference between 42,000 and 70,000, which is ^28,000 a year, you 
are nearer your dividend by ^14,000 a year at once. I say that this is a 
very valuable concession. Upon these grounds, gentlemen, I have no 
difficulty whatever in recommending the ordinary shareholders and I am 
an ordinary shareholder myself and nothing else to accept this scheme. I 
wish it could have been better. I wish we could have made better terms for 
both classes of shareholders, but I say, looking at all things and in con- 
sideration of the fact that the preference shareholders are giving up their 
absolute right to all profits, after paying debenture interest, up to 70,000 a 
year, and that they are willing to reduce that to 42,000, and thus bring you, 
as I have pointed out, much nearer your dividend than you would be if you 
remained as you are and have also parted with part of their capital I 
venture to think that they have met you very fairly, and I think you will 
be wise in adopting the scheme. . . . The chairman put the resolution to the 
vote, first taking those against. He declared the resolution carried by 62 
votes against 17, and announced that this secured the necessary majority. 



308 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING OF 
SHAREHOLDERS. 

An extraordinary general meeting of the Company was held in the same 
place at half-past two o'clock. Mr. Royden again presided, and there was 
a large attendance. 

The Chairman : I have now to propose the following resolution : 

"That the capital of the Company be reduced to ^1,400,000 and that 
such reduction be effected by cancelling the capital lost or unrepresented by 
available assets to the extent of 4 in respect of each of the preference shares. 
in the Company and to the extent of 6 in respect of each of the ordinary 
shares in the Company, and by reducing the nominal amount of the 
preference shares to 6 per share and the nominal amount of the ordinary 
shares to 4 per share." 

The resolution was put and declared carried with one dissentient. 

The Chairman then formally moved the following resolution : ' ' That as 
from the time when such reduction is confirmed by the Court the preference 
shares of reduced amount shall in lieu of their present dividend rights carry 
the right to a fixed preferential dividend at the rate of 7 per cent, per annum 
on the capital paid up thereon, payable as regards each year out of profits 
of that year available for dividend, and the right to have half the surplus 
profits of each year available for dividend applied so far as necessary in 
making up the dividend on such preference shares for that year to what it 
would have been if the reduction aforesaid had not taken place, namely, to 
7 per cent, on the original nominal value, and that the residue of the profits 
of each year available for dividend be applicable to the payment of dividend 
on the ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the regulations 
for the time being in that behalf." 

The resolution was put and declared carried with one vote to the contrary. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



209 



THIRTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Thirteenth Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders in the Salt 
Union, Limited, was held on June 3rd, 1902, in the Law Association Rooms, 
14, Cook Street, Liverpool, Mr. T. B. Royden, Chairman of the Company, 
presided. 

THE DIRECTORS' REPORT. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1901. The Salt Union deliveries in 1901 were 
903,000 tons, as compared with 853,000 in 1900. A large portion of the 
increase in tonnage is in the export trade, and is due to lower freights ruling ; 
but against this increase there is a continued and serious decrease in the use 
of manufactured salt for chemical purposes. 

2. COST OF MANUFACTURE. During the first half of the year the price 
of fuel remained at an abnormally high level, but during the latter half 
there was a substantial decline. 

3. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The district managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling stock, in their 
several districts, have been maintained in good order during the year. 

4. REDUCTION OF CAPITAL. The scheme for the reduction of the capital 
of the Company, which was submitted to and approved by the shareholders 
at meetings held on the 3Oth January, 1902, was duly confirmed by the 
Court on the 2ist April last. As the reduction only takes effect from the 
date of such confirmation, the accounts for 1901 have to be presented 
without showing the effect of the reduction. The directors therefore submit 
the following particulars : 

A mended A mount 
after Confirmation 
of Scheme for Re- 
duction of Capital 
by the Chancery 

of the County 

A mount in Palatine of Lancas- 

Balance Sheet ter, Liverpool Dis- 
at 31 st December, trict, 21 st April, 
1901. 1902. 



Freehold, Copyhold and Leasehold 
Properties and Works, Machinery, 
Plant and Goodwill 

Acquisition of Distribution Busi- 
nesses and Covenants with Vendors 

Surplus Freehold Estates 

Fully Paid Shares in other Salt 
Trading and Carrying Companies 

Steamers, Barges, Flats and Ap- 
pliances 

Rolling Stock 



3,471-983 19 6 2,030,461 o o 



130,490 ii 
106,760 o 



134,807 o o 



100,000 o o 



72,197 o o 



164,453 7 
128,721 17 



124,000 
95,ooo 



4,137,216 17 o 2,421,658 o o 



310 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



The reduction of 1,715,558 173. in the value of the assets is provided for 
as follows, viz. : 

By the amount written off Preference Capital . . . . 400,000 o o 

By the amount written off Ordinary Capital . . . . i ,200,000 o o 

By the extinction of the present Reserve Fund . . . . 108,823 8 6 

And by Transfer from Profit and Loss Account. . . . 6,735 8 6 



1,715,558 17 o 

5. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The gross profit on 
salt inclusive of revenue from other sources has amounted 
to 228,157 i6s. iod., whilst the net profit amounts to 
95.54 2 J 3 S - 8d., or, including the balance brought for- 
ward from 1900, 101,770 53. 2d. From this has to be 
deducted debenture interest for the year, 54,000, leaving 
an available balance . . . . . . . . . . 47,770 5 2 

From this has to be deducted the deficiency shown in 
par. 4 6,735 8 6 



Your directors recommend that a dividend for the 
year ended 3ist December, 1901, be declared at the rate 
of 6/- per share on the preference shares, which will 
require 

That there be placed to Reserve Fund (New Account) 
And that there be carried forward 



THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 



41,034 16 8 



30,000 o o 

10,000 o o 

1,034 16 8 

41,034 16 8 



The Chairman : Gentlemen, I have now to move that the report of the 
directors with the statement of accounts and balance sheet for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1901, now submitted, be received and adopted. 
While I congratulate the Company on the increased trade of last year, which 
exceeded that of the year before by 50,000, unfortunately the chemical 
trade was not in a flourishing condition, and our shipments for that purpose 
were 50,000 less than last year, otherwise we should have shown an increase 
of 100,000, which would have been very satisfactory indeed. Gentlemen, 
I cannot help remarking casting my eye back to the previous record of 
this Company and speaking broadly in the account of 1898 we had a 
deficiency of about 20,000 in the payment of the debenture interest, besides 
having an overdraft of 25,000, and the drafts against shipments of salt to 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 211 

India to a very large amount, I think i 5,000. That year we had to entrench 
upon our reserve fund in order to pay the debenture interest. The year after 
we succeeded in paying the debenture interest, and carried forward a small 
balance, or rather wrote it off against some matters. The year after we were 
not only able to pay the debenture interest but i per cent, on the preference 
shares. This year, I am glad to say, we are able to pay an increased amount 
upon the preference shares. I do not like prophesying, but I venture to 
hope that with such a trade as we may fairly expect possibly in the near 
future, the ordinary shareholders may have the advantage of coming in too. 
All this has been done of course with strict regard to economy in working, 
and at the present moment we have no overdraft at the bank ; we have 
drawn nothing against shipments of salt abroad ; and I think we may fairly 
say we stand in a very stable and strong position. 

The Chairman then put the motion for the adoption of the report to the 
vote, and declared it to be carried with two dissentients. 



212 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



FOURTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Fourteenth Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders of the Salt 
Union, Ltd., was held on March loth, 1903, in the Law Association Rooms, 
Cook Street, Liverpool. There was a large attendance. Mr. T. B. Royden, 
Chairman of the Company, presided. 

The Chairman : I have to declare to the meeting that we require a 
quorum of five only, so there is no difficulty in saying that we have a meeting. 
The proxies are here on the table. 

THE DIRECTORS' REPORT. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1902. The quantity of salt delivered by the 
Company in 1902 was 925,000 tons, as compared with 903,000 tons in 1901. 
The arrangement with other manufacturers has continued, but the agreed 
selling prices have been on a lower level. 

2. COST OF MANUFACTURE. The lower price of fuel which ruled towards 
the end of 1901 continued throughout the past year, with the result that the 
cost of manufacture has been reduced. 

3. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The district managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft, and rolling stock, in their 
several districts, have been maintained in good order during the past year. 

4. GAS PRODUCER PLANT. Good progress has been made in the erection 
of a plant on Dr. Mond's system at Weston Point. 

5. REDUCTION OF CAPITAL. In consequence of the scheme adopted by 
the shareholders and approved by the Court in the early portion of the year, 
the capital of the Company is shown in the balance sheet at the reduced 
figure provided for by the scheme, and the assets have been written down 
in the manner indicated in the last report. 

6. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit amounts 
to 110,092 145. 2d., or, including the balance brought for- 
ward from 1901, 111,127 IOS - IQ d- From this has to be 
deducted debenture interest for the year, 54,000, leaving 

an available balance .. .. .. .. .. .. 57.127 10 10 

Your directors recommend that a dividend for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1902, be declared at the rate of 6 /- 
per share on the preference shares, which will require . . 30,000 o o 

That there be placed to General Reserve Fund . . 15 ,000 o o 

That there be placed to Depreciation Reserve Fund . . 10,000 o o 

And that there be carried forward .. .. .. 2,127 IO IO 

57,127 10 10 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 213 

THE PROGRESS OF THE COMPANY. 

The Chairman : Ladies and gentlemen, I beg to move, " That the report 
of the directors, with statement of accounts and balance sheet, for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1902, now submitted, be received and adopted." I 
shall not detain you at any length with regard to the various items in the 
accounts because they are of the usual and ordinary character in some 
cases a little less, and in some cases a little more, as the exigencies of trade 
demand. But there are one or two points to which I think it worth while 
to call your attention. The first is, I think, an encouraging one, and it is the 
progress which the Salt Union has made in the last two or three years. I 
notice in 1898, the time when the present Board came into office, the tonnage 
of salt sold was 967,000 tons, which resulted in a loss, and we were not able 
out of the profits of the year to pay our debenture interest by 21,208. We 
had to take an amount of 12,531 which had been brought forward from the 
year before, and to trench upon our reserve fund to the extent of 8,677. 
So, in order to pay debenture interest, we had to take some 21,208. Well, 
in the year 1 899 deliveries of salt fell to 924,000 tons. We were able to make 
a profit sufficient to pay our debenture interest, and to carry over a sum of 
4,601. In the year 1900, the lowest point which the sales of salt reached, 
they fell to 853,000 tons, but after paying debenture interest, there was a net 
profit of 16,227, f which 10,000 was given as a small dividend on the 
preference shares, and 6,227 was carried forward. In the year 1901 we 
apparently turned the corner as far as the deliveries of salt were concerned, 
and the sales amounted to 903,000 tons, or 50,000 tons more, and the net 
profit after paying debenture interest was 41,542. Of this 30,000 was paid 
as preference dividend, 10,000 was placed to ^reserve, and 1,035 carried 
forward. The amount that was carried forward from the year before had 
to be utilized in connection with the reduction of capital. In the year 1902, 
I am happy to say, our sales of salt have been 22,000 tons more than last 
year, and they amount now to 925,000 tons, and the net profit after paying 
debenture interest is 56,093. As you will see by the report 30,000 is again 
to be paid as dividend on the preference shares, and 25,000 is carried to 
reserve 10,000 to particular reserve, and 15,000 to general and we 
carry forward a balance of 2,127. Well, gentlemen, I think you will con- 
sider that steady progress like that is very encouraging. I can only hope, 
on your account and my own, it may go on in the same steady, if not even a 
more rapid, way. I thought it would be well that you should know exactly 
how the Company has progressed since the present Board took it in hand. 
The building up of reserve we regard as of the very utmost importance. We 
know the changes that take place in a trade of this character, and I think it 
is to your interest, and the interest of all concerned, that it should be built 
up as a strong, thorough-going, sound concern, and I believe the only way 
to do that is from time to time to place such sums to reserve as can be con- 
veniently spared. There is another point I want to mention, and that is 
that some two or three years ago a shareholder asked the directors to give 



214 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

their attention to the question of getting sulphate of ammonia as a bye- 
product out of their work. Gentlemen, we did look very closely into it, and 
at that time we were not quite satisfied it was an opportune moment to 
begin, and I think events have justified the opinion we formed, for great 
improvements have been made. We have now entered into a contract with 
the Power Gas Corporation to put up works for that purpose at Weston Point, 
and I believe, so far as at any rate we can form any opinion, fortified by the 
opinions of the most expert engineers, we shall find a very considerable 
accretion to our profits when we get it going. A subject I regret to have to 
refer to is to report that since our last meeting you have lost a very faithful 
and good servant, and we have lost a much-esteemed colleague in Mr. Ward. 
I am sure I need not say how entirely he had the interest of the Salt Union 
at heart, and how arduously he worked for its benefit, and I am sure we shall 
feel his loss more and more. There is a feeling I know existing in many of 
the shareholders' minds, that there always has been one director, as it were, 
connected with the Cheshire district, a resident of Cheshire, as Mr. Ward 
was, and I beg to tell you that the directors, having that in view and desiring 
to have the expert help of Mr. Rigby, have appointed him a director in the 
place of Mr. Ward, and I think his presence at our Board meetings may be 
of extreme value. I think, gentlemen, those are the only remarks I have to 
make, and I have to formally move the resolution which I have just read. 

THE CALCUTTA TRADE. 

Mr. Coates : With respect to the Company's shipment of salt to Calcutta, 
after deduction of freight, insurance, duty charges, and the cost of the 
Calcutta establishment, what is the net result per ton as compared with the 
price of salt delivered alongside in Liverpool ? 

The Chairman : Well, it is extremely difficult to answer. When I tell 
you that in th-2 course of last year the price varied from 76 to 46 rupees per 
100 maunds I think you will see it is a little difficult to answer. 

Mr. Coates : Would it not be much to the advantage of the Company if 
they sold all their salt delivered alongside here, instead of keeping a costly 
establishment out there ? 

The Chairman : I quite agree with you if you can only find people to 
buy it. If you will find the buyers we shall be happy to give you all the 
salt required. 

Mr. Coates : Is there not a considerable loss on that branch of the 
business ? 

The Chairman : Not as an average ; at times there is, and at times there 
is not. 

Mr. Coates : There is a large item here for directors' fees and travelling 
expenses. Are those in connection with that branch of the business ? 

The Chairman : That has nothing whatever to do with Calcutta. We 
have no establishment in Calcutta. We pay Messrs. Turners a certain 
commission. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 215 

A REQUEST FOR STRENGTHENING THE BOARD BY PRACTICAL MEN. 

Mr. Milliken : I wish to express on behalf of the shareholders whom I 
represent, and also myself, our sympathy with ihs Board in the loss they 
have sustained by the death of Mr. Ward, whose services to the Union were 
so valuable, and appreciated by us all. In this connection we wish to know 
what preparation, if any, the directors have made to meet such a contin- 
gency ? The almost daily shrinkage in the value of the ordinary shares of 
the Company since the demise of Mr. Ward has led the public to believe 
that the Board were powerless to do anything. There is another question 
we are very anxious to ask, that is who will take Mr. Ward's place as 
chairman of the Salt Makers' Association ? Well, Mr. Chairman, I need 
hardly say the balance sheet and report have been a grievous disappointment, 
for we were led to believe that with cheaper fuel, the cost of the manufacture 
of salt would greatly decrease, and that, combined with cheaper freights to 
India, and a better demand for fishery salt, would give the ordinary share- 
holders a dividend. . . . We have looked into these conditions as carefully as 
possible, and I am now authorized to say that we think this would have been 
the result if greater economy, and perhaps foresight, had been exercised by 
the Works Committee ; and, believing this, on what we think good grounds, 
we now strongly recommend the abolition of the Works Committee, and the 
substitution in its place of practical salt makers in the management of works 
or group of works, with full powers, and responsible only to the whole Board 
of Directors. . . . We also desire to see the Board of Directors strengthened 
by the addition of two practical men, salt makers, for as far as we know there 
is not one at present acting ; and we suggest that from the County of Cheshire 
competent men would be obtainable. 

The Chairman : You ask us what preparation we are making to fill the 
place of Mr. Ward. I announced that Mr. Rigby was appointed a director 
in the place of Mr. Ward. 

Mr. Milliken : I said those I represent are not satisfied with one practical 
salt maker on the Board. We want two. 

The Chairman : One is there. I think he should be quite sufficient. 

Mr. Milliken : Excuse me, Mr. Ward was there. 

The Chairman : And Mr. Rigby is in his place ; and Mr. Falk is pretty 
expert in salt making. You spoke about who was in the place of Mr. Ward 
at the Salt Association. Well, the British Salt Association elect their own 
chairman, and I am happy to say they have elected Mr. Cox. Then with 
regard to the extra economy, I can assure you the Works Committee have 
been very careful in exercising all the economy they possibly can, and they 
neglect no opportunity of doing it. I know certainly in respect to buying 
slack and coal they have been most successful in all they have done. 

Mr. Lowden : I have something to tell you that will be of interest to 
you, and that is that of these gas firing experiments, of which our 
chairman has spoken so hopefully, I am the originator, and that I introduced 
Professor Jenkins, of the College of Science of London, to the work of the 



ai6 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

Salt Union, and the outcome of that visit, and his studies and his brains, has 
been a gas firing method, and that method I patented, and I am very pleased 
to inform you that I propose to make an offer of this patent to the Salt Union 
as a free gift. Mr. Milliken will kindly read the offer. 

Mr. Milliken : Mr. Lowden has authorized me to read this offer which he 
makes to the Board and the shareholders of the Salt Union : " I have patented 
a method of making salt, utilizing all the heat of the fuel, of which more than 
50 per cent, is now wasted, and using a good portion of the steam arising from 
the brine pans when in work, and effecting other economies. The method 
has been tried on a commercial scale at the Salt Union works, and the reduc- 
tion in the cost of making salt is enormous, with the recovery of bye-products. 
These patents I now offer to the shareholders as a free gift, stipulating only 
for out-of-pocket expenses, say about ^500. I invite the directors to make 
a statement." 

The Chairman : I know Mr. Lowden has worked upon this patent for 
some years, and the directors of the Salt Union were desirous of giving him 
every opportunity, but we were advised, after consulting counsel, that the 
patents were not valid, and as a matter of fact we failed to see that there 
was that great economy which Mr. Lowden, with all honesty, believed could 
be attained. Under these circumstances we felt that we could not proceed 
to test this. Mr. Lowden is wrong in saying it has been tested and shown 
to be a commercial success, because that is just exactly what it failed to do 
in our opinion. Under the circumstances I cannot recommend to the share- 
holders to accept Mr. Lowden's proposition. 

Mr. Lowden : Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask you who was the 
counsel who gave you that opinion. When the opinion was sought for the 
case was stated as between myself and Dr. Mond and the Salt Union, and it 
was submitted to Dr. Mond's counsel. 

The Chairman : No. 

Mr. Lowden : I beg to say it was. I don't know that you understood 
it was Dr. Mond's counsel. 

The Chairman : Who was Dr. Mond's counsel ? 

Mr. Lowden : Mr. Walters. That opinion was sent to me, and was so 
lop-sided that even the Board could not stand it. 

The Chairman : May I correct you ? Mr. Thos. Tyrrell, Q.C., was the 
counsel. 

Mr. Lowden : You will hear about Mr. Tyrrell. This opinion of Mr. 
Walters' being so lop-sided, the directors thought they had better consult 
him again, and they went to London to meet him, and when they came before 
him the first thing he said was, " Gentlemen, I think I ought to tell you I am 
retained as counsel for Dr. Mond." Under those circumstances they retired 
from Mr. Walters, and referred the case to Mr. Tyrrell. I asked them if they 
wanted a fair and just opinion to lay it before Mr. Tyrrell as the Salt Union 
and Lowden against the world. Instead of doing so they presented it to 
Mr. Tyrrell as the Salt Union v. Lowden, and they sent it to me for my 
sanction. I at once sent it back, and said I could have no part in the case. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 217 

The Chairman : I must stop you because you are totally inaccurate. 

Mr. Lowden : It is only a minute I will keep you. That opinion of Mr. 
Tyrrell was given, and I am quite content to abide by it. The opinion is 
that I, the patentee, am entitled to claim for the cycle of operations, and the 
rest, he says, is doubtful. If you look at the cases in the courts week after 
week, where even the judges on the bench differ as to the validity of patents, 
I think that seeing the Salt Union can get these patents for their own pro- 
tection at so little cost, it is unwisdom to refuse them ; because I am not the 
man behind them ; it is Professor Jenkins who is the man behind them, and 
he is coming back from Australia he is now on board the steamer Indian, 
and will be in England in April. 

The Chairman : It is not Professor Jenkins' patent you are offering. 

Mr. Lowden : They are in my name, I grant, but he is the originator and 
part owner. . . . Now, gentlemen, I have laid the case before you and I am 
quite content to leave myself in your hands. 

Dr. McDougall : This matter is not sufficiently clear to the shareholders. 
I think it will be of advantage if the question of difference that has arisen 
between the patentee of this patent and the directors were cleared up more 
efficiently. I scarcely think we have heard the details, and I am quite sure, 
Mr. Chairman, you desire to do justice to the patentee as well as protect the 
interests of the shareholders. Can you give us something ? Because it is 
scarcely the thing to deal with a matter of such vast importance in a some- 
what heroic manner, and in an off-hand way. 

The Chairman : The directors act entirely for the interests of the share- 
holders and for their good ; and I may tell you they have investigated this 
thing very closely indeed over and over again. A case was stated, which we 
offered to submit to Mr. Lowden. I think he did see it. 

Mr. Lowden : You did submit it, sir. 

The Chairman : And it was submitted to counsel, and his advice was 
against us. We could do no more to protect your interest. 

Mr. Lowden : For what reason ? 

The Chairman : Simply because he did not think the patents were valid. 
Therefore, I say, we can do no more. If the shareholders wish us to try a 
patent we do not believe in, and which we do not think will promote the 
success of the Company, in your hands be it. 

THE ERECTION OF MOND PLANT. 

Dr. McDougall : I think you as directors are very much to be congratulated 
upon the excellent balance sheet you have presented. . . . We have heard a 
great deal in former times about the value of stocks and plant and what not, 
but it is important in the first instance that the plant should be maintained 
and kept in efficient condition. I live in the district, and I don't ask you to 
reveal any secrets, and if it is against the interests of the Company, I don't 
press it at all, but I should like to ask as to the approximate cost of the 
Mond plant you are erecting at Weston Point. I know it is expensive. 
Another matter I should like to ask is whether you are satisfied that the 



218 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

saving upon the erection of that Mond plant will be what has been represented 
to you ? I dare say the directors have consulted the maker. The loss of 
heat in carbonising coal is very considerable. They recover it in sulphate 
of ammonia subsequently ; but whether the actual heat they are about to 
generate here can be adapted to the evaporation of salt in a satisfactory 
manner, we must take from you and those who have advised you. I hope 
that the advice is based upon some actual facts, and not merely a scientific 
utterance. That is the most important point. I take it that part of this 
55,000 which has been spent has been part paid for this plant, or is it still 
the amount which has to be paid ? Is it to be held over to be paid this year ? 
Then another point I wish to ask you is the time in which the contract is to 
be completed. Will it be completed up to time ? Those are points I think 
of great importance. I have been told, and I have reason to believe, the 
saving will be a very considerable one, and if there is any doubt perhaps 
there may still be a doubt about it, but on the other hand I think the 
directors were bound to adopt this plant as a means to an end, and if the 
plant is a success with the powers invested in the directors, I take it the time 
is not far distant when substantial dividends may be paid to ordinary share- 
holders. 

The Chairman : I should say the works, including gas plant, foundations, 
and so on, will cost somewhere about ^45,000. We are satisfied there will be 
a considerable profit upon the making of salt by this process, and though we 
took the opinion of eminent engineers thoroughly acquainted with the matter,, 
still we also fortified ourselves by testing the question whether gas firing would 
produce salt, and we proved it could and would, and therefore we have no 
doubt upon that point. In the report the item for maintenance does not 
include any payments yet for the gas producing. The contract will be fairly 
up to time. 

THE DIVIDEND. 

The Chairman : Now, gentlemen, I have to move, " That a dividend for 
the year ended 3ist December, 1902, at the rate of 6/- per share on the 
preference shares be hereby declared payable, less income tax, on and after 
the a6th March, 1903, to all preference shareholders who were on the register 
on 28th February, 1903." 

The Chairman put the resolution to the vote and it was unanimously 
adopted. 

THE LATE MR. WARD. 

Dr. McDougall : Before you come to the next resolution, I should like to 
submit a special resolution, and that is, " That a vote of condolence with the 
family of the late Mr. Ward be sent from this meeting." Mr. Ward, as every 
person knows, was a familiar figure at these meetings ever since the initiation 
of the Salt Union, and he was one of those fortunate men who had no axe 
to grind when he was elected a director., or when he became so prominently 
connected with the concern. He had no works to transfer at a fabulous. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 219 

price, and he was quite content to remain Mr. Ward as he has been all along, 
and as he has gone down. I have known Mr. Ward perhaps longer than any 
other person in this room. I have been familiarly identified with him in other 
business matters for over thirty years it is a long time to know anyone 
and I know how keenly alive he was to, and how disinterested he was in, the 
interests of the Salt Union, and how much he regretted as I have reason 
to believe the present Board regretted the condition in which the Salt Union 
was found at the time of its transference to Liverpool. Mr. Ward was very 
familiar probably no one was more familiar, with the salt formations of the 
Cheshire districts then he was. He was undoubtedly a tower of strength as 
a salt-maker to the existing Board of Directors. However much one may 
sympathise with Mr. Milliken in the proposal he has made, still the directors 
have acted with considerable wisdom in electing a gentleman who has been 
familiar with the Salt Union for so many years, and with salt boiling, which 
is rather an important matter. I should not like to mix up that observation 
with the resolution I am now proposing to you, but I am satisfied the share- 
holders, if they knew the value of Mr. Ward's services, would have no 
difficulty about expressing their regret at his too early death. I beg to move 
that a vote of condolence from this meeting be sent to the family of the late 
Mr. Ward. 

The Chairman : I rise to second that proposal. As I have already said, 
Mr. Ward's colleagues on the Board feel what a very great loss his death 
has been to us. I can endorse all that has fallen from the mover of the 
resolution, which I am sure you will kindly accept. We will pass the resolu- 
tion in solemn silence. 



320 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



FIFTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Fifteenth Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders of the Salt 
Union, Limited, was held on March isth, 1904, in the Law Association Rooms, 
Liverpool. Mr. T. B. Royden, the Chairman, presided. 

THE DIRECTORS' REPORT. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1903. The quantity of salt delivered by the 
Company in 1903 was 898,000 tons, as against 925,000 tons in 1902. The 
arrangement with other manufacturers has continued in force. 

2. COST OF MANUFACTURE. This has shown a slight increase during the 
past year, the cost of fuel having been somewhat higher. 

3. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The district managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling stock, in their 
several districts, have been maintained in good order during the past year. 
In addition, depreciation has been written off craft and rolling stock. 

4. GAS PRODUCER PLANT. This is now complete, and a commencement 
has been made in the application of gas firing to a portion of the existing salt 
plant at Weston Point. 

5. MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL. The Union's claim for damage arising out 
of the closing of the tidal openings was heard in the early portion of last 
year by Mr. Aspinall, K.C., acting as arbitrator. On the assumption that 
the Union's reading of its protective clause in the Manchester Ship Canal Act, 
1896, was correct, he awarded 6,500 as damages for the past and 1,100 
per annum during the continuance of existing conditions, but stated a case 
on the point of law. The Union's contention was sustained by the High 
Court, but the Canal Company appealed. (The appeal was decided in the 
Union's favour by the Court of Appeal on i ith February last, and the arrears 
of damages, with interest, have since been paid.) 

6. CONVERSION OF SHARES INTO STOCK. As stated in the notice conven- 
ing the meeting, resolutions will be submitted for the conversion of the 
preference and ordinary shares into corresponding preference and ordinary 
stocks. 

7. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit amounts 
to 99,619 us. id., or, including the balance brought 
forward from 1902, 101,747 IS - nd- From this has to be 
deducted debenture interest for the year, 54,000, leaving 

an available balance . . . . . . . . . . . . 47,747 in 

Your directors recommend that a dividend for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1903, be declared at the rate of 6/- 

per share on the preference shares, which will require . . 30,000 o o 

That there be placed to depreciation reserve fund .. 15,000 o o 

And that there be carried forward . . . . . . 2,747 i 1 1 

47,747 i ii 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 221 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman : Gentlemen, there in one point I wish to inform you 
upon, and it is this. Some time ago we were asked why we did not adopt 
the ways of manufacturing salt by which bye-products of some value might 
have been obtained. Well, we did not think at the time that that patent 
was sufficiently advanced. Since then the Mond Gas Company has been 
brought out, and we have thought that the time had arrived for us to con- 
sider the adoption of that process, and I am glad to be able to tell you that 
within the last week or two we have started that process at the new works 
which we have erected at Weston Point, and so far as we can see it will be 
eminently satisfactory. I trust it may be so, in order that we may advance 
either in that direction or in others so as to cheapen the production of salt, 
and ultimately bring the Salt Union to the state which we all very much 
desire. I now beg to move, gentlemen, the resolution for the adoption of 
the report and accounts. 

AN INTERESTING RESUME. 

Mr. G. H. Cox (Deputy-Chairman) : Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I have 
very much pleasure in seconding the adoption of the report and accounts, 
as proposed by Mr. Royden ; and I think we may congratulate ourselves 
upon the generally favourable nature of those accounts. . . . You will agree 
with me when I say that it is no use manufacturing an article, however per- 
fectly and cheaply, unless you can sell it, and sell it well. I have no hesita- 
tion in stating that our sales department is thoroughly organized and 

excellently manned But, gentlemen, however well we may conduct our 

own business (and at even prices with our competitors we can sweep the 
board), if we are to realise remunerative prices, it is necessary that we should 
work in agreement with the said competitors. The old policy of the Board 
had been such as to create a number of these new salt makers, and being 
there, they have to be reckoned with. The late Mr. Ward and Mr. Pretty 
succeeded in establishing the British Salt Association, whereby the prices 
and tonnages of all the members were regulated, and I should like to acknow- 
ledge here and now, how much we are indebted to them for their pioneer 
work. Since Mr. Ward's death the duty, and a very serious one it is, has 
devolved upon me with the assistance, first of Mr. Rowbotham, and second 
of Mr. Clark, of presiding over the British Salt Association. During the past 
year grave difficulties arose in connection with the working of the British 
Salt Association, which was materially added to by the advent of two entirely 
new salt works, one in Cheshire and one in the Isle of Man, and the threat 
of others to follow. At one time it appeared as if the association must be 
broken up, but I am happy to say that this has been avoided, and a better 
agreement entered into by the great bulk of the salt makers than that which 
obtained before. Briefly, we have pooled our makes, all sales being effected 
through one channel, and the average prices realized each month credited 
to each member for his respective tonnage ; while the loss of tonnage due to 



222 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

the new makers is borne pro rata among the members of the association, or 
Salt Office, as it is called. In this way we are able to meet the competition 
of new outsiders with the minimum amount of loss, and we hope that ere 
long all those who are not members of our association will find it their interest 
to join it. I wish to clearly point out that our association only aims at 
maintaining a fairly remunerative scale of prices a living wage and that 
it has no desire to extract high ones from the general public, thereby repeating 
the mistake made during the early life of the Union. At the same time, it is 
of vital importance to those who are already in the trade to combat to the 
utmost of their power the introduction of any further tonnage. In this con- 
nection, and looking to the difficulties and uncertainties that inevitably sur- 
round the working of such an association as that which now controls the salt 
trade, I think it is prudent on the part of the Salt Union to build up ample 
reserves that shall be available in case a war of prices were to break out. 

THE PREFERENCE SHAREHOLDERS* CONTENTION. 

Mr. Alexander Armour : I am a preference shareholder, and I think it is 
only right that the other side should be heard. The question of the first 
cost of the Salt Union we know is a matter of ancient history, and it is quite 
a different question to that which we are considering to-day, which is whether 
it is wise now to declare a dividend on the preference shares. To do so 
you must be guided by what you have before you, and that is the profit and 
loss account. If the gentlemen who have just spoken could prove by the 
accounts that there was a loss on working, I, for one, would support them, 
and would say there is no room for a declaration of dividend whatever, but 
instead of that I think the account, to my mind, is surprisingly strong, and 
I will tell you why I say so. In the first place, you have a clear balance of 
99,000, in round numbers 100,000, of gross profit. Now, that is as clean 
a profit as ever was earned in the world. Now, the question you have to 
consider is what you are going to do with that 100,000. In the first place, 
you must of necessity pay your just and lawful obligations to your debenture 
holders, which are 54,000. That leaves you with 45,000. If the directors 
had said : " We are going to divide that for the benefit of the shareholders," 
I, though only a preference shareholder, would have thought that unfair, 
but they are not doing anything of the kind. They are going to retain 
15,000; and let me point out to those gentlemen who have just spoken 
that not only is i 5,000 left over, but there are 35,000 in reserve. You may 
say it is only a matter of account, but still it is there as an actual reserve 
that is undivided profit from some other years. Therefore you have 50,000 
wherewith to make a new investment in what I do believe, and I speak with 
some knowledge of what is going on, will prove very satisfactory, for I have a 
friend who has the Mond gas in his works at Warrington, and who speaks 
very highly of it. Therefore you are making a new departure of the most 
important kind. Whatever the blunders of the past may have been they 
are remedied, and when gentlemen come into this room and say that these 
experiments recommended by the directors should not be entered upon, I, 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 223 

for one, feel it my duty to say as one who does understand something of 
these matters, that I think altogether this account is one which is worthy 
for the directors to submit to us, and that with what they propose to do they 
have not given too large a dividend to the preference shareholders, and they 
have retained sufficient to carry on a new phase of business which I hope will 
result in profit to the Company. 

THE WORKS COMMITTEE SUPPORTED. 

Mr. G. H. Ball : I have listened with great attention to what you have 
said, and I agree very strongly with what has been advocated in regard to 
the appointment of a sub-committee of directors to look after the actual 
management. I am sorry to say there are a great many companies with 
boards of directors who leave everything to their managers, and things are 
not as satisfactory as they might be. ... It may be pointed out that under 
the management of a general manager the expenses were down at a certain 
point, but when they came under the Management Committee of directors 
those expenses increased. Well, I can quite understand that. The manager 
was anxious to keep down expenses as low as he possibly could, and allowed 
the property to depreciate in order that it might appear he had worked the 
concern with great success. The directors have investigated these things, 
and find that the property, the working plant, and so forth, are not in the 
condition they would like to see them, and consequently they have to charge 
the revenue of later years in order to put that property into a sound condition. 
Now we are told a large amount has been charged to revenue in order to 
maintain the plant and works, and I presume from those statements the 
plant is now in a satisfactory condition. In that case I think we have to 
commend and praise the directors for having brought about this condition, 
and it shows you how important it is in companies of this kind that the 
directors should be men who have some practical knowledge of the working 
of these concerns, and who are ready to devote their time and attention to the 
business. I am quite in support of the action of the directors, and I dis- 
approve of what has been said by this gentleman. 

A STATEMENT QUESTIONED. 

Mr. Henry Seddon : I am a manufacturer in opposition to this Company 
in a certain sense, but working with it in another sense. I do know 
this, and you may take it from me as a fact, that the position of the 
Salt Union was never stronger, since it was a Union, than it is to-day. 
Our vice-chairman made one statement which I cannot accept, and I am 
really sorry he did make it. It was this, that this Company could sweep the 
boards of outsiders. 

Mr. Cox : I am quite prepared to repeat it. 

Mr. Seddon : You may repeat it, but all the same I give a most emphatic 
denial to that statement. I have been in the salt trade all my life, in fact. I 
was born in it, and know it as well as any gentleman in this room, not 



224 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

excepting even the Board. I think that statement Mr. Cox was not war- 
ranted in making. I say that with all due deference to Mr. Cox, and not in 
any antagonistic spirit, but it would perhaps have been better left unsaid. 

The Chairman : It has been said that if the gas plant is a success and you 
carry it further, as no doubt you would wish to do, what becomes of your 
old plant ? All I have to say, and I think the shareholders will agree, is that 
the directors must take advantage of everything which will cheapen the cost 
of production, even if part of the old plant is superseded. We manifestly 
cannot on the one hand continue to use old plant when newer plant might 
be provided by our competitors. If the Salt Union is to become a substantial 
and solid Company, it must take advantage of every improvement in the 
manufacture. It is further apparent that there are some who do not believe 
in the Works Committee. Well, I think I have a right to say I have been 
connected with industrial undertakings all my life, and I have never yet 
known an industrial undertaking to be a success where the directors them- 
selves did not take a personal interest in the company, as if it was their own 
business. With that view, as I have stated, I asked the directors to take 
that personal interest, and they have done so. They spend their time ; in 
fact, I may say almost day by day they visit the various works. They 
personally superintend the manufacture of salt. They keep themselves in 
touch with all officials, and the result is that I unhesitatingly say the staff 
of the Salt Union of the present day is in a higher state of efficiency than I 
believe it has been since the formation of the Company. Well, gentlemen, I 
need hardly refer to the question of repair of works, because it has been 
already spoken of. The fact is the cost of repairs under the old directors, 
per ton of salt, was not as much as the cost under the new directors. That is 
what has been said. Well, gentlemen, as was pointed out by my friend over 
there, the reason for that is evident. The works were not kept up in the 
way they should have been. They were not kept up in accordance with the 
leases, and we might have been called upon, and we have been called upon 
from time to time, to lay out a very considerable amount of money on various 
works in order to free us from the obligations which we were obliged to agree 
to in those leases.. And that accounts for far more than the difference which 
has been given. Then there is another question, the subsidence of land, 
especially at Winsford, which we, of course, have had to meet. All those 
are expenses. I speak for myself and co-directors, and we believe when a 
difficulty arises that we have to face it, and it is our duty to carry out the 
obligations which were undertaken, not by us, but by the former directors of 
the Board. Then we have been asked if we provide sufficient against our 
leases which in course of time may run out ? So far as those leases run out 
we have not found any difficulty in coming to an understanding with the 
owners of the property, and I do not believe that in the future we shall have 
difficulty, but we provide, as you see by the accounts, as well as we can. . . . 
I think, gentlemen, I have touched upon all the points, but I must refer once 
more to the question of the extra fee to the directors, because I feel it all 
important. I do wish all the shareholders to clearly understand that so- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 225 

long as I remain chairman I am quite willing, at any time, if it is the wish 
of the shareholders that someone else should be appointed in my place I 
am perfectly willing, and I might almost say I should be very pleased, to 
resign the onerous duties which are imposed upon me. But I have felt that 
I took up this position in order if it would be possible to save the Salt Union 
from coming to an end, and I shall be very pleased if during my time of 
office I can work it round into a strong substantial position with the help of 
my co-directors. But the shareholders must have confidence in me that to 
the best of my ability I shall ask my co-directors to second my efforts and the 
staff generally. 



236 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

REPORT FOR 1904. 

Report of the Directors for the year ended $ist December, 1904. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1904. The quantity of salt delivered by the 
Company in 1904 was 890,000 tons, as against 898,000 tons in 1003. Prices 
have been gradually declining throughout the year. 

2. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling stock, in their 
several districts, have been maintained in good order. In addition, depre- 
ciation has been written off craft and rolling stock, and a further .20,000 
has been placed to the Depreciation Reserve Fund. 

3. MOND GAS PRODUCER PLANT. This plant has been in operation for 
some time, and the application of the gas-fuel in the salt works is proceeding 
satisfactorily. 

4. DIRECTORATE. Mr. John Holt retired from the Board at the end of 
the year. 

5. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit amounts * 
to 87,022 145. 5d., or, including the balance brought 
forward from 1903, to 89,769 i6s. 4d. From this has to 
be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 54,000, 

leaving an available balance .. .. .. .. .. 35,769 16 4 

Your directors recommend that a dividend for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1904, be declared at the rate of 3 /- 
per share on the Preference Shares, which will require .. 15,000 o o 

There has been placed to Depreciation Reserve Fund . . 20,000 o o 

Leaving to be carried forward . . . . . . . . 769 16 4 



35,769 16 4 

The dividend will be payable on and after 5th April, 1005, to shareholders 
registered on 4th March. 

By Order of the Board, 



45, TOWER BUILDINGS, LIVERPOOL, 
6th March, 1005. 



H. BOWMAN, 

Secretary. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 227 



SIXTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the shareholders in the Salt Union, 
Limited, was held on March i5th, 1905, at the Law Association Rooms, Cook 
Street, Liverpool. The chair was taken by Mr. T. B. Royden (Chairman of 
the Board of Directors). 

THE CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT. 

The Chairman : I beg to move that the report of the directors and state- 
ment of accounts and balance sheet for the year ending 3ist December, 1904, 
now submitted, be received and adopted. I do not know that there is much 
that I require to direct your attention to, except the important matter of the 
state of trade, and I regret that we have not been able to put before you a 
more flourishing report of the state of the salt trade. The loss of revenue is 
mainly, I may say almost altogether, attributable to the state of our Indian 
trade. In consequence of the very low freights granted by the coasting 
services from the Salt Works on the Red Sea they have been able to send 
large supplies from there to the Calcutta market, and consequently although 
we have not lost in tonnage, we have certainly lost in price, and that has made 
our trade not profitable. Then again we have another important branch, the 
chemical trade. I am sorry they, like ourselves, have not had a very flourish- 
ing year, and the supplies they usually take from us have had to be curtailed 
to a considerable extent. These two items, and a slight diminution in prices 
in the home trade, are the main features in the loss of profit. . . . Another 
point is that we have after very considerable discussion and mature delibera- 
tion come to the conclusion that they had a vacuum plant in America which 
was working very successfully, and was producing salt at a very considerably 
less cost. We asked our former engineer, a man of very great experience, 
Mr. Rigby, to go over there, and spend some time over it, and he was so 
satisfied with the results that we have engaged to take a plant of that 
description, to be erected in Cheshire. If we are as fortunate with it as they 
seem to be in America, I think success is sure. I only wish to point this out, 
that it may take time, to avoid entering into schemes which may prove 
fantastic after all ; but I mention it to show that the directors are alive to 
the fact, which has so often been impressed upon us both by the Press and 
shareholders, of the necessity of making use of every invention which may 
possibly be deemed to be one which will bring about a reduction in the expense 
of making salt, because we feel that that is of vital importance to our interests. 
With these remarks I beg to move the adoption of the report, accounts and 
balance sheet. 

HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION REVIEWED. 

Mr. George H. Cox : I regret as much as anyone in this room, that we 
are unable to lay before you a more favourable one. If we have not com- 
manded success, I venture to assert that we have deserved it. The task that 



228 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

I and my colleagues undertook seven years ago has proved to be a very much 
greater and more complicated one than we anticipated ; and I can assure 
you that had I not felt honourably bound to try and carry out the desires 
of those who placed me here, I should long ago have resought the leisure and 
freedom that I previously enjoyed. ... In order to arrive at a fair estimate 
of the existing position, let us, first of all, consider what was the origin of the 
Salt Union, about which, as you all are aware, I had nothing whatever to do,. 
but whose instructive history I have been led to study closely. Its formation 
was the outcome of a deplorable condition of the manufacturing trade, many 
firms being on the verge of bankruptcy at that time. To save themselves 
they formed the Union, by means of which they strove to make a complete 
monopoly. In order to achieve this monopoly extravagant prices were 
paid for certain properties and works, the money was eagerly supplied by a 
confiding public, and the consequence was that the Union was vastly over- 
capitalized. In addition to this over-capitalization, extremely onerous 
leasehold engagements were entered into with the ground landlords. To 
crown all, the then directors raised prices enormously, thereby killing certain 
outlets of trade and inducing outsiders to seek for fresh sources of brine, 
which they promptly found, and soon established competing works. These 
gradually grew under the umbrella of this Salt Union, until they now produce 
about one-third of the total output of salt. In addition to this, great changes 
have occurred in the world's requirements. The chemical trade has been 
largely revolutionized. Instead of salt, the basis of the chemical manufacture 
in many cases is now brine. Consequently, whereas in the early days of the 
Salt Union the chemical trade took 600,000 tons per annum, it now only 
requires about 100,000 tons. Again, hostile tariffs abroad have greatly 
hindered our export trade. . . . This, gentlemen, is frankly the sort of trade 
in which we are embarked, and I think it is well that you should thoroughly 
understand it. The Salt Union has some notable advantages over its com- 
petitors. It possesses the best and most favourably situated works, and has 
an unlimited supply of brine and rock salt. It also possesses several profit- 
able subsidiary businesses and specialities, and has an unrivalled selling 
organization. On the other hand, it was from the beginning over capitalized, 
and is handicapped by leasehold engagements, and the possession of far more 
properties and works than the existing trade can profitably employ. If you, 
and the shareholders generally, will realize this, you will have a better idea 
of what your property consists of, and the very difficult task your directors 
have in managing it. ... As chairman of the Works Committee, I can assure 
you that no pains have been spared by the members of that committee, and 
by the Board (after careful investigations and consultations with our officials), 
to effect economies and improvements in the methods of working throughout 
all our districts. The fulfilment of these duties involves a great deal of time, 
thought and labour ; and it may interest you to know that it necessitates 
travelling to the extent of many thousands of miles in the course of a year. 
.... We have endeavoured, as much as possible, to concentrate our working 
in order to economize, but our efforts in this direction are greatly hampered 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 229 

by the leasehold obligations entered into at the formation of the Union. It 
is well that in considering the affairs of the Salt Union you should always 
bear this in mind. Still, in spite of this, we have succeeded during 1904 in 
effecting substantial savings. . . . We are sedulously working to this end, and 
hope to succeed, in spite of the great obstacles in our path ; and we expect 
to be materially helped by the advent of new processes of manufacture. You 
will notice that I have just referred to new processes, and prominent among 
them are the application of Mond gas to the pans instead of coal firing ; and 
the method of evaporating the brine in vacuum pans. You will not expect 
me to say much concerning them. Let us hope that they will ultimately tell 
a flattering tale in subsequent balance sheets. I will, therefore, merely 
content myself by saying that we are successfully working the Mond gas 
producer plant, thereby obtaining the gas as fuel, and recovering the sulphate 
of ammonia, and I am glad to say a larger amount of this product than 
anticipated. The application of this gas fuel to the pans is still in the trial 
stage. We have had to learn and unlearn many things in connection with it, 
but from what we have already accomplished I am sanguine that satisfactory 
results will be attained. This Mond gas plant has been throughout the year 
a matter of constant and earnest attention upon the part of the Works Com- 
mittee and the staff in charge of it, and our thanks are specially due to Mr. 
Chadwick and Mr. Munton, in whose hands the practical and scientific work- 
ing of the plant has been placed, for the manner in which they have performed 
their responsible duties. The completion of the gas firing experiment and the 
beginning of the vacuum processes will be among the principal means whereby 
we hope to cheapen the production of salt during the current year. 

Mr. Milliken : As representing a considerable body of Irish shareholders, 
and also a few English shareholders, in the remarks I am about to make, I 
was very pleased to hear Mr. Cox's statement as to the Mond gas producer 
plant, and I hope, as I am sure we all hope, that it may prove very profitable 
to the Company. Those whom I represent are greatly dissatisfied with the 
results of last year's working, and wish again to impress upon the Board the 
necessity of improving and strengthening the management of the Union. . . . 
To remedy matters, we advocate the removal of the Works Committee, and 
the substitution of a manager for the Cheshire division, who should be a 
thoroughly good organizer. The committee costs us 2,600 a year in extra 
fees, besides travelling expenses, and they, as I hope you will all agree with 
me, at the best can only put in a few hours' work per week, on the spot where 
the work and supervision ought to be done. One good man would do such 
work, and could put his finger on leakages which doubtless these gentlemen 
never see, and at less cost. If the reports I have heard in Liverpool to-day 
are really true, it is owing to a series of disagreements with the Board that 
Mr. John Holt retired. It is a serious thing to us who have so much money 
at stake if those reports are true. 

The Chairman : I am sorry to stop you, but I am not aware of it. 

Mr. Milliken : Well, those are the reports I have heard in Liverpool to-day 



23 o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

The Chairman : I certainly ought to know. 

Mr. Milliken : You certainly should know, but whether you are willing 
to disclose it to the meeting is another thing. 

The Chairman : I have nothing to disclose. I know that Mr. Holt has 
not agreed with some members of the Board, but we have all exercised our 
independent views ; but I have no reason to suppose what you suggest. The 
reason he gave to us was that owing to his business engagements he could no 
longer give anything like the amount of time that he ought to devote to the 
work. He found the duties of a director of the Salt Union too onerous for 
him to discharge. 

DECREASED PRICES AND INCREASED COST OF MANUFACTURE. 

Mr. Fells : I think it is perhaps purely a matter of inadvertence that 
there was no expression of regret on the part of the Board of this Company 
that they have lost the services of Mr. Holt. I would like at any rate to pay 
my tribute to the energy and ability he devoted to the Company's affairs, 
and I feel sure I am but expressing your views, although unfortunately they 
were not expressed by you. It may be, from what the chairman has said, 
that Mr. Holt had differed from some of his colleagues. It may be that the 
rift is more serious than some of us had thought, and your not expressing 
your views with regard to this particular point was due to a difference on 
some large question of policy. However, I have no doubt that you will deal 
with the matter in your reply, and I feel sure in that reply you will join with 
me in an expression of regret that this Company has lost Mr. Holt's services. 
With regard to the gas producer plant, I notice the very careful manner in 
which you and the Deputy-Chairman expressed their views with regard to 
this plant. I rather gathered that it was a most excellent plant with regard 
to the production of ammonia and of residuary products, but that you cannot, 
after your experience, give any definite or decided opinion as to the economies 
that would arise in the manufacture of salt. Well, I think it is rather regret- 
table that a year should have elapsed and that you should not be able to come 
to any definite conclusion on that point, particularly as you have spent a very 
large sum, 47,000, with the hope of cheapening salt production. But there 
was a further matter to which you alluded, and that was the probability of 
having to adopt, or adopting, a vacuum plant from the States. Now it seems 
to me that either the adoption of the Mond producer plant was too soon or 
too late. In fact, you are not quite certain whether the vacuum plant will 
answer more successfully than the gas producer plant. . . . You have had 
practically three administrations in this Company 1889-90, which may be 
considered the vendors' administration ; 1891 to 1898, which was the com- 
mercial administration ; and now you have the last, for which I will leave to 
the gentlemen responsible to find a suitable adjective for I shall not do so. 
I should like to say in connection with this matter that the policy of the 
present administration can only be decided by results. ... I would like to 
point out that as the result of the last six years, as compared with the 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 231 

previous six years, the cost of salt-making general charges I should say 
rather has increased 9'39d., from 2s. 6'55d. per ton to 33. 3'94d. per ton : 
and that the profit on salt has decreased from 45. 6-oid. to 43. 3'49d., a 
decrease of 2'52d. per ton, so that as a matter of fact you have realised 2^d. 
per ton less, and spent 9jd. a ton more in the manufacture ; whilst at the 
same time your trade has decreased by 24-81 per cent., but I gather as a 
matter of fact that the increase in competition has been greater in the last 
three or four years than it was before ; and that was very largely, I think, 
due to the fact that you have had a combination in the trade, the result of 
which has been that you have kept your prices, but your competitors have 
taken the business to a very large extent. Therefore it does not do. I 
think you will agree that your policy, tested by results, has not answered, 
for you have had a fairly high range of prices, with the result that you have 
done a diminished trade. 

Mr. G. H. Ball : There is just one matter I have a little interest in, and 
which I have been watching from the commencement, and that is with regard 
to the gas producer plant. When the Mond process was first formulated it 
was put forward as a great advantage to the working of that system that 
the slack and refuse at the pit banks was to be obtained at such a price as 
to make the working a successful one. Now, I anticipated when that was 
first put out that the time would come, owing to the increased demand for 
this refuse, that the prices would go up, and consequently the profits would 
be less. Now Mr. Cox has told us to-day that that has actually occurred, and 
that we have to pay more for slack than we did some time ago, so that you 
see the question of expenditure in this plant is one of very doubtful utility, 
because of that, and also because in another direction, Mr. Cox has told us 
that we now produce sulphate of ammonia. What has been the result ? 
The price of it has gone down very much. 

Mr. Cox : Let me answer whilst we are there with regard to the slack. 
The Mond gas producer requires a totally different class of slack than that 
used in the common pans throughout Cheshire. Therefore it has no 
relationship whatever to raising the value of slack used in the common pans. 
There is a tendency for prices to stiffen. With regard to sulphate of ammonia, 
prices have gone up 3 a ton since we ordered the gas producer plant. 

Mr. Ball : But it is going down, and has been for the past twelve months. 
I know something of the facts. It has gone down, and the results to the gas 
companies have been less than they would have been owing to the falling off 
in sulphate of ammonia, and it has produced, no doubt, an increase in the 
value of the material which was calculated to be used for the Mond process, 
and no doubt it will go on. 

Mr. Ambrose Ward : About this gas producer. I should like to know, 
as a whole, is there any saving ? Does it benefit the Union as a whole having 
the gas producer ? 

Mr. Cox : We are not yet in a position to make a complete trial to arrive 
at absolutely clear results, and therefore it is not fair to ask at the present 



2 3 2 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

moment as to how far it is going to cheapen things. I should like to say to 
Mr. Fells that the Board is just as sorry as he and the shareholders are, that 
it has taken so long a time to get this gas plant into full working order. As a 
matter of fact, the gas plant was not started until March of last year, and it 
was another three or four months before we got all the producers at work, 
and that, coupled with the difficulties of alterations to the gas plant, and so 
on, landed us into this position, that we have not yet been able to have a 
really clear trial of the thing from beginning to end. 

The Chairman : Well, Mr. Fells, as to the suggestion that we were too 
soon with the gas plant or too late, I must point out that that is not the case, 
because there is no reason why the gas plant should not be adapted to the 
vacuum plant we propose to erect, and therefore, this first plant we are now 
using or shall be using may be worked in connection with the vacuum, 
and also the existing plant. There is no reason why we should not put up 
the vacuum plant in Cheshire ; and there is no reason why the gas producer 
should not be put up in connection with the vacuum plant, and therefore your 
observations fall to the ground. With regard to Mr. Holt, I am sure per- 
sonally I was very sorry to lose Mr. Holt as a director. We did not pass a 
vote of thanks to him, because they had been expressed to him privately, 
and I don't know that there was any reason why we did not do so publicly. 
It would be very nice for the shareholders to do so now. 

The resolution to adopt the report and balance sheet was then carried 
by a large majority. 

The Chairman moved, " That a dividend for the year ended 3ist December, 
1904, be declared at the rate of 3/- per share on the preference shares." 

Mr. Alexander seconded. 

Mr. Milliken : I beg to move that the dividend of 3 /-, as recommended, be 
not paid, but placed to the credit of the reserve fund. 

Mr. McDowell : I have much pleasure in seconding the amendment. 

A Shareholder : May I ask if the directors have a moral right to dispose 
of the money ? 

The Chairman : We have the right to recommend it, and the shareholders 
may refuse to sanction our recommendation. 

On being put to the meeting, the amendment was defeated, and the 
motion adopted. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 233 



REPORT FOR 1905. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1905. The quantity of salt delivered by the 
Company was 861,000 tons, as against 890,000 tons in 1904. But for the 
decline in shipments to the East, due mainly to the Dock Strike, and to 
scarcity of tonnage, the trade would have shown a satisfactory increase. 
Prices have dropped continuously since 3Oth June, when the Association of 
Manufacturers was dissolved. 

2. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft, and rolling stock, in their 
several districts, have been maintained in good order. Depreciation has been 
written off craft at the same rate as in 1904, and the usual provision made 
for the replacement of rolling stock. 

3. NEW PLANT. The large plant on the multiple vacuum principle is 
practically complete, and is expected to be working this month. 

4. DIRECTORATE. Your directors deeply regret the loss of a valued 
colleague by the death of Mr. Archibald Roxburgh on 3Oth January. Mr. 
James Henry Beazley has been appointed to fill the vacancy. 

5. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit 
amounts to ^68,399 173. 2d., or, including the balance 
brought forward from 1904, to ^69,169 135. 6d. From this 
has to be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 

^54,000, leaving an available balance .. .. .. ^15,169 13 6 

Your directors recommend that there be placed to 

General Reserve ^15.000 o o 

Leaving to be carried forward .. .. .. .. 169 13 6 



^15,169 13 6 

6. THE DIRECTORS retiring by rotation are Mr. William Harvey Alexander 
and Mr. Herman John Dalk, who, being eligible, offer themselves for re- 
election. 

By Order of the Board, 

H. BO\VMAN, 

Secretary. 

COLONIAL HOUSE, LIVERPOOL, 
jth March, 1906. 



234 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Annual General Meeting of shareholders of the Salt Union, Ltd., was 
held on March i6th, 1906, at the Law Association Rooms, Liverpool. Sir 
Thomas B. Royclen, Bart., Chairman of the Board of Directors, presided. 

The Chairman : 1 shall have a few remarks to make about the report, and 
I will commence with what I have no doubt you have noticed, that we have 
sold a less amount of salt, less in tonnage, this year, in 1905, than in 1904. The 
reason of that is not far to seek. First of all there was a strike of the dock 
labourers in Liverpool, which prevented the steamers, the liners, taking as 
much cargo of salt as they intended to do. There was also a difficulty in 
getting the requisite and proper amount of freight in order to enable us to 
send the salt out to Calcutta, to India, with advantage. That accounted for 
the diminution in the gross amount of salt sold. As far as the home and 
other trade was concerned, there was an increase, but the diminution was 
in the salt which has been sent to India. Well, then, gentlemen, there comes 
another point which I have no doubt will have been noticed by all of you, 
and that is 

THE DIMINUTION OF PROFITS. 

Of course, if you sell less salt, it is natural to suppose there would be less 
profit, but the great cause, the principal cause, was that the combination 
which we entered into with the outside makers came to an end. It was not 
a good one for the Union, but it was the best under the circumstances. The 
arrangement was that each outside maker was limited to a certain amount 
of tonnage, and the Salt Union was to have the balance, but before very long, 
after this association was formed, we found that some were making more 
salt than they agreed to, and were enlarging their plant, and in some cases 
putting up new pans. We, therefore, felt under the circumstances, that 
though it had been a temporary advantage, it was working very much against 
the Union, and it was nothing like fair play. We, therefore, gave notice to 
terminate that arrangement, because we felt that we had arrived at the 
position where we could make an effort to regain what, I think, you will agree 
with me are our rights, but we are willing to enter into that combination 
again if our rights are fairly treated ; that is to say, if the trade will not allow 
of all pans being worked, there should be a pro rata diminution ; in which 
case justice would be done, compared with the injustice which the Union 
have had to put up with nearly half of our pans having been lying idle, 
whilst theirs have been working to their full strength. I say that that was 
never a fair position for any company to be in. Your directors were therefore 
determined to terminate that, although willing to enter at any time into 
arrangements on an equitable basis, by which they shall be able to make salt 
by their pans in due proportion to that made by the pans of the outsiders. 
Now our loss of profit, as I said before, is mainly due to that association 
coming to an end. There then commenced a fall in prices, which has con- 
tinued up to the present time. I can only express the hope that the out- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 235 

siders will see that, while the Union are determined to maintain their rights, 
they are prepared to meet them fairly. We hope that commonsense will 
prevail : and that they will see that it is better to work half or two-thirds of 
their pans at a profit, than the whole of them at a loss, or something akin to 
it. Now I have heard it stated that the Salt Union are bound, hand and 
foot, to one large chemical firm. I need make no secret about it that is 
the large firm of Brunner, Mond & Co., and I may explain that 

THERE IS A MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING 

that they will not sell or lease any of their lands for the purpose of making 
salt, or make salt themselves, except for their own purposes, and we under- 
take, on the other hand, that we will not sell or lease land for the purpose 
of making alkali by the ammonia-soda process. We are not bound as to any 
other process. Now, lately, we have been approached by other firms to 
sell or lease land to them, not only in Cheshire, but in the North-eastern 
district of Middlesbrough, for the purpose of making alkali by the soda- 
ammonia process ; and it is a matter which has been, and is still being, 
seriously considered by your directors at the present time, whether we should 
avail ourselves of the right we have under this arrangement to give six 
months' notice to terminate it. Of course, if these gentlemen propose to us 
such terms as we think are favourable and right, I think your directors will 
favourably view the position of giving six months' notice, and so bringing 
those lands and brine into use which at present they do not want. I think 
that is a correct way of looking at this matter. 

NEW PLANTS. 

I am happy to say that the plant at Weston that is to say, the gas-producing 
plant is working satisfactorily. I am happy also to say that our new 
vacuum plant, which I daresay most of you know is being put up by an 
American firm, and which is designed to make salt at a most reasonable price, 
was started yesterday, and we did hope that we should have some of the salt 
to show you to-day. We are not able to do that, but on Monday or Tuesday 
next I expect we shall be in full working order, and it seems to prognosticate 
a very favourable result. Now, gentlemen, I come to my last point, and that 
is the 

FINANCIAL POSITION OF THE COMPANY. 

Well, I think we may point with some degree of pride to the manner in which 
it has been, I may say, resuscitated. Very shortly after I took office we had 
a deficit on the debenture interest of 20,000, and a loan from the bank of 
25,000. Those items have disappeared. We have paid our debenture 
interest, and we have placed aside very fair sums in depreciation, notwith- 
standing that all our plant has been kept up in thorough working order. 
We have now a balance, instead of a deficit, of 2.5,000, and we have invest- 
ments which amount to 46,000. Our object has been to build up this 
Company by strong reserves to place it in such a position that we can 
command respect, and assert our rights when they arise ; and I hope you 

s 



236 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

will agree with me that the only way it may take a little time, and I may 
have to ask you for the exercise of patience ; but it is borne out in the history 
of many companies, there is no way of building up this Company, and making 
it an absolutely sound concern, so effective as the building up of its reserves 
from time to time. In order that you may thoroughly appreciate what has 
been done in the past few years that we have been directors of this Company, 
I have asked our chief accountant, Mr. Showell, to draw up a statement, 
which he will read to you, and then you will thoroughly understand the 
position. 

INTERESTING STATEMENT. 

Mr. Showell then read the following statement : Whilst the success which 
has attended the efforts of the Board since the change in the directorate has 
not been so great as might have been desired, it has been very considerably 
greater than would appear from the results disclosed by the profit and loss 
accounts. In order that the shareholders may thoroughly realise the great 
improvement which has been effected in the financial position of the Union, 
it may be well to make a comparison with the position in 1897-8. In 1897 
there was nominally a reserve fund of 117,500, but the same was not liquid 
and available, and it had to be swept away in the capital reduction scheme 
of 1902. Since then the directors have thought it prudent to steadily build 
up a reserve, which, whilst perhaps small compared to the large figure at 
which the properties even now stand, is at any rate a real reserve, and almost 
entirely represented by liquid and immediately available assets. Including 
the sum set aside this year, we now have 40,000 on general reserve, to be 
utilized if necessary for fighting purposes, for the further development of 
new processes, and for the general strengthening of the Company, and we 
have 45,000 which is specially ear-marked for depreciation. In addition to 
these reserves, we have built up our insurance funds, Which now stands at 
the very substantial and satisfactory figure of 11,890, as against 2,140 in 
1897 an increase of 9,750. Depreciation, which had not been adequately 
dealt with prior to 1898, has had special consideration. A sum of over 
23,000 has been written off steamers and barges (during the past three years) 
over and above the great reduction made by the capital adjustment scheme, 
and this has, of course, been all charged against revenue, in addition to the 
ordinary upkeep. As to rolling stock, the directors recognized the absolute 
necessity, imposed upon us by the Board of Trade regulations, of its being 
gradually replaced, and a sum of no less than 28,000 has been set aside 
during the past seven years, out of which we are gradually building new stock 
to replace that which is worn out or become obsolete. This provision has 
been charged against revenue, and is over and above the ordinary upkeep of 
the stock, which costs us no less than i 5,000 per annum. During the period 
the sum of 22,500 has been expended upon the rebuilding of works, and 
expenses in connection therewith, mainly owing to subsidence in certain 
districts, over and above the ordinary maintenance. The following is a sum- 
mary of the extraordinary payments and provisions which have been made 
out of revenue since 1898 : 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 237 

i 

General Reserve . . . . . . . . . . 40,000 

Depreciation Reserve .. .. .. .. 45,000 

Insurance Funds . . . . . . . . . . 9,750 

Depreciation of Craft . . . . . . . . 23,000 

Rolling Stock Replacement . . . . . . 28,000 

Sundry other Provisions . . . . . . . . 5,000 

Works Rebuilt . . . . . . . . . . 22,500 



A Total of . . . . . . 173,250 

It will therefore be seen that we have been seriously handicapped, but that 
the matter has been faced boldly and a safe conservative policy which was 
absolutely essential in the best interest of both classes of shareholders 
adopted. The financial improvement may roughly be taken in this way. 
In 1898 the debts due to the Company, plus the balance of cash in hand, only 
exceeded the sum owing to creditors by 18,900, whilst at the 3ist December, 
1905, there was a surplus of 23,600, and in addition there were outside and 
available investments of 46,365, and beyond all this there have been 
additions made to properties, including the conversion of valuable leaseholds 
into freeholds, the erection of the producer gas plant, the new vacuum evapora- 
tion plant, and sundry other additions and extensions, costing, in all, over 
100,000, without any increase to the issued capital account. In addition 
to the improvement brought about in the finances, we have been able to 
distribute 115,000 by way of dividend on the preference shares during the 
seven and a half years. 

Mr. G. H. Cox then said : In seconding the adoption of the report and 
balance sheet you will doubtless desire me to say something concerning the 
work and trade of the Union during the past year, in addition to what the 
Chairman has already told you. . . . We have continued our policy of con- 
centration and retrenchment in every department, the present condition of 
the trade having led us to be even more drastic in some directions than, 
perhaps, we might otherwise have been. As you will understand, it is 
frequently a very painful process, both to those who initiate it, and to those 
who are personally affected. I am bound to say, however, that the changes 
have been loyally and uncomplainingly accepted as being inevitable under 
the circumstances. The alterations have been made at different times during 
the year, and some will not take effect until the current year. The figures I 
am about to give you represent what we calculate will be saved in the course 
of a twelvemonth from the date when the changes came into operation. 
Thus in Cheshire the many alterations that have been ordered, including 
some rearrangements in connection with the working of the craft, but chiefly 
in relation to the conduct of the works and administration, we calculate will 
result in a saving after the rate of 3,855 per annum. In our Worcestershire 
district we have set on foot a far-reaching scheme which we believe will 



2 3 8 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

ultimately effect a saving of some thousands of pounds per annum, but mean- 
while we can't give exact figures. Finally, in Durham, although the works 
are very much smaller than in either of the two preceding districts, a very 
important saving has been effected, amounting to fully ^2,500 per annum. 
As I said last year, we expect ultimately to 

MAKE FURTHER ECONOMIES 

in administration when the new processes are thoroughly established, but this 
will take considerable time, and many of the old works will still be required 
to manufacture the special qualities of salt demanded by our customers. 

THE IRISH VIEW. 

Mr. Milliken : Mr. Chairman, the remarks I make will be based upon the 
report I have in my hand. They are as follows : That we think this report 
is one of the most depressing we have ever had the misfortune to read. It 
shows that no dividend has been earned on ^1,400,000 of capital, and 
formerly ^3,000,000 of capital, and that there is very little prospect of 
improvement. The deliveries of salt are much lower than last year, and I 
believe are less than in any year since the inauguration of the Union, with the 
exception of 1900. The maintenance allowance stands at ^44,506, the lowest 
figure, or nearly the lowest on record. The gross profit is less than in any 
year since 1899, and steamers and rolling stock are valued at less than at 
any time. What is the explanation ? Now, Mr. Chairman, what are we 
to do ? The Board have told us at different times that we possess the most 
favourably situated works, that we have an unlimited supply of brine and 
rock salt, several profitable subsidiary businesses, and an unrivalled organiza- 
tion. Those whom I represent believe in the accuracy of those statements, 
and think it must be through want of nerve on the part of the Board, or want 
of business capacity, that the most is not made of our unique position. 

The Chairman : Do you move anything ? 

Mr. Milliken : I suppose I would not be allowed to move anything now. 

The Chairman : You can move anything that is in order. 

Mr. Milliken : Then I move the appointment of a friendly committee to 
examine and report on the situation. 

The Chairman : You move that as an amendment to the report ? You 
will only be in order in that way. 

Mr. Milliken : Very well ; I move that. 

Mr. J. R. Coates : I have pleasure in seconding that. 

Mr. Garnett : Although we appreciate what you and Mr. Cox have said, 
in plain Lancashire, we don't seem to get any forrader, and we get no dividend. 
It seems to me this Company is going to be 

A GOLD MINE FOR POSTERITY, 

and posterity has done nothing for any of us. I am quite sure that the 
shareholders present, and those absent, would be very proud to partake with 
posterity, if there is going to be posterity, and it is going to be a gold mine. 
Notwithstanding all that has been said, we are in a worse position, I think. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 239 

practically, than we have been in for a very long time. . . . We come here 
time after time and 

GET NO DIVIDEND. 

Some of us are original shareholders, or, at least, unfortunately bought at a 
premium, and on the advice, too, of those who ought to have known, and on 
the advice, too, of those who were selling on one Exchange, when they were 
giving that advice. ... I am sure I shall support the gentleman who has moved 
the amendment to appoint a friendly committee to confer with the Board of 
Directors upon the matter throughout. 

Mr. Ball : As to the 

ARRANGEMENT WITH OUTSIDE ASSOCIATIONS. 

Well, what you said to us to-day with regard to that arrangement does not 
show a great amount of business capacity. I do not wish to make any 
personal reflections, but it does not show any great amount of business 
capacity on the part of the directors, because they were actually guaranteeing 
to these other companies a certain amount of business, and we had to take 
the residuum. Consequently, I can understand under such an arrangement 
that the other companies were very successful, and we, of course, had to 
sustain the loss. I quite approve of your breaking up that arrangement, 
because I think it was a very absurd one, and does not show any foresight 
on the part of the directors. 

Mr. Fells : Mr. Chairman, I was glad to hear that your financial position 
is so much stronger than would be apparent from the balance sheet ; and I 
am also glad to know that you have made it clear that in any future arrange- 
ment with regard to price or output of manufactures, some reasonable under- 
standing must be come to by which this Union will not be prejudiced as it 
has been. I think experience has shown that the one-sided arrangement by 
which this Company only got the residue of trade was not satisfactory to 
you or to the Company. . . . There is another matter to which I wish to call 
attention. Experience convinces us more and more, year by year, that the 
salt trade has in the last eighteen or twenty years undergone a transforma- 
tion. There is not the demand for common salt that there has been, and while 
that change has been going on you have not, probably owing to good causes, 
utilized your large brine supplies for the 

MANUFACTURE OF CHEMICALS. 

The brine on your land is your capital, and if owing to a change in the con- 
ditions of trade it cannot be utilized in the form of common salt, there is no 
reason why you should not use the brine itself by some of the processes of 
chemical manufacture. Of course, the reciprocity arrangement you have 
with a certain firm may have been a desirable arrangement once, but con- 
ditions have changed so largely that that agreement is now rather one-sided 
in its operation. I say that these things are matters for some adjustment. 



2 4 o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

and I hope we may have some assurance from you, sir, that they will receive 
your careful consideration, and that you may come to some practical con- 
clusion on the matter. I, for one, hope and believe that better times are in 
store for the Salt Union than for many years past, if the revolution which 
has taken place is now boldly and resolutely faced. 

A Shareholder wished to point out that the agreement with Brunner, 
Mond & Co., referred to by the Chairman, whilst in favour of Brunner, 
Mond & Co., was very little in favour of the Salt Union. If they had been 
making chemicals last year they would have had a much better profit to 
show that day. He thought that all the directors required was an expression 
of opinion from the shareholders in favour of their taking the necessary steps 
to convert their brine into chemicals. 

Mr. Pyatt asked for a little more detail as to how that ^2,400, directors' 
fees, was made up. 

The Chairman : The Accountant will write down the details, while I save 
time by replying. Mr. Milliken suggests a different system of management. 
He holds that view, but we do not, and we think we are justified in our 
opinion from actual observation. . . . Now let me come to the expression of 
opinion from Mr. Fells, which I deem to be the most important of all. I 
quite agree with him that we should be very glad indeed to turn some of 
our property to better advantage. On the question whether our brine is 
being 

ABSTRACTED BY ANOTHER FIRM, 

we hold the opinion that it has been, and negotiations have taken place ; 
but so far they have not resulted in anything. We have now brought the 
matter into court, or are going to bring it into court ; and therefore you will 
understand that I cannot now go into details, as action is being taken to 
secure our rights. 

A vote was then taken on the amendment, which was rejected, only six 
hands being held up in its favour. On the original resolution being put, 
it was carried with one dissentient. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 241 



REPORT FOR 1906. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1906. The quantity of salt delivered by the 
Company was 910,000 tons, as against 861,000 tons in 1905. For the greater 
portion of the year prices were at an extremely low level ; but to this the 
formation of the North-Western Salt Company, Ltd., has, in the opinion of 
your Directors, been largely due. 

2. NORTH-WESTERN SALT COMPANY, LTD. A Company was registered 
under this title on 22nd August, and has, as from the i/th September, 
entered into an agreement with the Union and other manufacturers. This 
arrangement has had comparatively little effect upon the returns for last 
year, owing to the bulk of the deliveries having been made under old con- 
tracts at low prices ; but your directors believe that it will be decidedly to 
your advantage in the future. 

3. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The district managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft, and rolling stock, in 
their several districts, have been maintained in good order. Depreciation 
has been written off craft at the same rate as in 1905, and the usual provision 
made for the replacement of rolling stock. 

4. NEW PLANT. The plant on the vacuum principle has been in constant 
work since it was started a year ago, and has proved quite satisfactory. 

5. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit 
amounts to ^70,104 us. 6d., or, including the balance 
brought forward from 1905, to ^70,274 53. od. From this 
has to be deducted debenture interest for the year, ^54,000, 

leaving an available balance . . . . . . . . . . ^16,274 5 o 

Your directors recommend that there be placed to 

General Reserve . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,000 o o 

And to Depreciation Reserve Fund . . . . . . 5 ,000 o o 

Leaving to be carried forward . . . . . . . . i ,274 5 o 



ji 6,274 5 o 
By Order of the Board, 

H. BOWMAN, 

Secretary. 

COLONIAL HOUSE, LIVERPOOL, 
i8th March, 1907. 



2 4 2 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Eighteenth Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders in the 
Salt Union was held in the large room of the Exchange Station Hotel, 
Liverpool, on March 27th, 1907. In the unavoidable absence of the 
Chairman, Sir T. B. Royden, Bart., the chair was taken by Mr. G. H. Cox, 
the Deputy-Chairman. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman : The resolution I now have the pleasure to move is as 
follows : " That the report of the directors with statement of accounts and 
balance sheet for the year ended jist December, 1906, now submitted, be 
received and adopted," and in doing so I should have liked to have been 
able to present you with a more favourable one. Nevertheless, had it not been 
for the great efforts we have made during recent years to effect economies 
in administration and in cost of production, the results would have been much 
less favourable than they now are. It has often been said with regard to the 
salt trade that when the trade of the country is in a highly prosperous or 
booming condition such as now obtains, it is not good for salt, and the reason 
is not far to seek, because when general trade is active it means that prices 
are high of raw materials and coal, and also that freights are higher, while 
it does not follow that any higher price can be obtained for the salt produced. 
I mention this because some people think that because the general trade of 
the country is prosperous our branch of it ought consequently to be equally 
so. I can assure you that the year 1906 will 

NOT BE READILY FORGOTTEN 

by anyone engaged in the salt industry owing to the fierce competition that 
prevailed throughout the greater part of it, when prices fell to a lower level 
than ever known, at all events within recent years. It is true that for the 
last three months prices were materially advanced through the action of the 
North-Western Salt Co., Ltd., but this only affected a part of the salt 
delivered during that period, the remainder having been previously con- 
tracted for at lower rates. You will understand, therefore, that your 
directors passed through a very anxious time, and the same applies to our 
officials and staff, and I should like to take this opportunity of thanking 
them, and also the great body of artizans for the admirable way in which 
they supported us during this trying period. We eventually came very 
well out of the fight. We gained tonnage to a considerable extent, having 
delivered 910,000 tons as against 861,000 tons in 1905. We actively pursued 
our policy of 

CHEAPENING THE COST OF PRODUCTION 

in every possible way, in which we were quite successful, in spite of the 
increased cost of coal and other materials ; and finally we succeeded in 
making a very satisfactory working arrangement with our competitors for 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 243 

the future regulation of tonnage and prices. You will see from the account 
that after making very liberal provisions as formerly under various heads, 
we have an available balance, including the small amount brought forward 
from the previous year, and afte"r paying the interest upon debentures, of 
^16,274 55., which we have disposed of as follows : To general reserve, 
^10,000; depreciation reserve fund, ^5,000; carried forward, ^1,274 53. 
Now some of you long-suffering shareholders may think we ought to have 
declared a small dividend on the preference shares, and I am bound to say 
I have much sympathy with that view, but I am sure that the prudent 
business men among you will agree with the decision arrived at by the 
Board. This time last year a very similar amount of profit was dealt with 
in a somewhat like manner, and it was especially necessary then, in view of 
the disorganized state of the trade, that it should be so treated. The present 
outlook is very different : we have emerged from the contest stronger than 
we were before, and there is every prospect of prices being well maintained ; 
still we feel certain that a strictly conservative policy is the best in your 
interests. In other words, that we should so build up the financial position 
of the Union as to make it, if not quite unassailable, at least well able to 
withstand any assaults that may be delivered against it. In this way we 
hope to assure you a steady reward in the near future for all your patience. 
.... The allusion is made in the report to the formation of 

THE NORTH-WESTERN SALT COMPANY, LTD., 

which I will now deal with. In these days of a Yellow Press, it is perhaps 
dangerous to speak of any business arrangement by the name of a combina- 
tion, although it is notorious that all the leading trades and manufactures 
of the country, and including shipping, have been compelled to enter into 
various kinds of working arrangements in order to earn a living wage. By 
the establishment of the North-Western Salt Company, Ltd., we believe that 
we have arrived at a thoroughly sound and practical working scheme for 
regulating the tonnages and prices of the salt trade as a whole ; for all the 
manufacturers and distributors have joined it with a few trifling exceptions. 
The North-Western Salt Company is a limited company, established for a 
period of five years. A nominal amount of capital has been subscribed, 
because little is required. The operation that it performs is very much of 
the nature of a great clearing house for all the members, who still preserve 
their individuality, and in selling the salt act as distributors for the company. 
The basis of tonnage is fixed for each member, and his actual amount will be 
regulated accordingly as the total tonnage dealt with increases or diminishes. 
In this it differs entirely from the former association, where the Salt Union 
guaranteed the tonnage for each member, and had to compensate him in 
cash if there was any shortage. Each firm has one director on the Board, 
save the Salt Union, which has two, one of whom must be the chairman, 
and, as many of you know, this arduous task has fallen upon my shoulders. 
The manager is the Salt Union's commercial manager, Mr. Clark, to whom 



244 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

we are all much indebted for the successful way in which he accomplished 
the extremely difficult task of forming the North-Western Salt Company. 

THE POLICY OF THE BOARD 

of the North-Western Salt Company is to maintain a level of prices that 
will yield a fair profit to the manufacturer, but at the same time to meet 
competition I want you to bear this carefully in mind both at home and 
abroad, so that a full tonnage may be maintained. I believe that this pooling 
(so far as the marketing of the salt is concerned) of the interests of the whole 
trade will be a great boon to all, and not least to the Salt Union, whose share 
amounts to 72 per cent, of the total. At the same time you will understand 
that each member has full liberty to conduct has manufacture in the most 
efficient and economical way that he can do. Before leaving the commercial 
side of our business I wish to draw your attention to 

OUR EAST INDIAN TRADE, 

and especially as we were subject to some adverse criticism at the last annual 
meeting with regard to it. You will be glad to notice that the tonnage 
shipped to the East shows a satisfactory increase, the figures being : 191,000 
tons for 1906, as against 169,000 for 1905. You will also be pleased to know 
that the Indian Government has just announced a reduction of duty to the 
extent of i8/- per ton. The duty now stands at 377- per ton, as against 
about 5 per ton a few years ago. This is a great boon to the poor consumers 
and will certainly increase the amount consumed. The first results following 
this reduction are heavier sales and a rise of 2 /- per ton in prices. . . . The 
gas producer plant has worked satisfactorily throughout the year, under the 
efficient control of Mr. Chadwick. We have increased our battery of round 
pans in combination with back pans, and we shall proceed still further on 
these lines, and also in the direction of remodelling our existing salt plant 
and warehouses at Weston Point, which, I believe, will result very advan- 
tageously to the Union. 

THE VACUUM PANS 

had only just been started at the date of our last meeting, and, since then, 
after some initial difficulties had been overcome, they have been worked 
continuously, barring temporary stoppages for alterations, &c. . . . Mr. 
Harold Rigby has been placed in charge of the working of the plant, with the 
assistance of Mr. Munton and Mr. Brooks, and under the supervision of Mr. 
John Rigby. With this management, not only have previous results been 
maintained, but they have been considerably exceeded. The salt produced 
is of beautiful and uniform quality, though in its present condition not 
suited for all classes of consumers. We have found, meanwhile, that it is 
highly appreciated in certain markets. We are on the point of putting up 
a drying plant, which will materially increase the value of the salt, and open 
out fresh channels of consumption. To sum up, we are quite satisfied that 
we adopted the right course in establishing the vacuum process of evapora- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 245 

tion, and I feel sure that very beneficial economical results will follow. More- 
over, we shall not rest even on what we have so far accomplished, and in 
your interests must press forward, so that we may continue to be 

IN THE FRONT RANK OF SALT PRODUCERS. 

Our competitors abroad are moving fast in the same directions, and we 
cannot afford to let them get ahead of us, for it is only by means of the 
cheapest possible production, and through low, or moderate, freights, that 
we can hope to retain our hold of the foreign markets. There is one other 
important subject that 1 must touch upon before I sit down, and that is the 

RELATIONSHIP OF THIS COMPANY TO MESSRS. BRUNNER, MOND AND COMPANY. 

Our Chairman told you last year that the question of the mutually protective 
agreement then and now in force between our respective companies was 
under consideration ; that is to say, we had to decide whether it was to our 
interests to denounce the agreement and free our lands for the erection of 
alkali works, using the ammonia-soda process, and at the same time to free 
Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. from the existing restriction as to their making 
and selling salt in competition with us. We were approached by several 
parties, who stated that they contemplated entering into the alkali manu- 
facture, but those inquiries were not of such a nature as to justify our giving 
Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. notice to terminate the agreement. Neverthe- 
less, it is still quite open for us to do so, should we deem that circumstances 
warrant it. I want you to bear that carefully in mind. Again, under the 
head of our relationship with Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. may be classed 
the 

DISPUTED RIGHT TO CERTAIN BRINE SUPPLIES, 

which have been the subject of private negotiations during the past two 
years, and more recently have been submitted to the decision of the Law 
Courts. Personally, I have always held that the matter at issue might well 
have been settled out of Court, if moderate counsels had prevailed, but, as 
you know, such a settlement was not arrived at, and the issue was therefore 
tried before the Lord Chief Justice, with the result that the verdict was 
given against us, though it was admitted that the facts upon which we based 
our claim were substantially correct. In other words, that Messrs. Brunner, 
Mond & Co. were found to have been extracting our brine and mineral, and 
yet that we could not legally prevent them from doing so. You will agree 
with me, I am sure, when I say that it is very hard upon the Salt Union to 
be thus deprived of its property, because, in the opinion of the Lord Chief 
Justice, there is no law in existence that will protect us. He, however, 
several times during the case alluded to himself as merely the " conduit 
pipe " to convey the facts, after he had ascertained them, to another tribunal. 
At least that is what he meant by calling himself a conduit pipe. If for no 
other reason, this would be a 

JUSTIFICATION FOR OUR APPEALING, 

in order that we may find out whether the Higher Court will venture to 
interpret the law differently, or create a precedent in such a way that it will 



. -.>" A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

effectually protect our property. We therefore have appealed, and the case 
will, we hope, come on for hearing during the summer, and although the law 
is proverbially uncertain, we have good grounds for thinking that the verdict 
of the Lord Chief Justice will be reversed. Meanwhile, it is just possible that 
a settlement may be arrived at privately, and looking to the many and varied 
interests of the two great companies, and to the way in which those interests 
are intertwined, I should like to express the hope that such a settlement may 
yet be come to as will be perfectly equitable to both the parties concerned, 
and that, consequently, further expenditure of time, temper, and money 
over lawsuits may be avoided. Nevertheless, I want it to be clearly under- 
stood, that we shall not shrink from pursuing the matter to the final legal 
tribunal if we are unable by other means to protect what we look upon as 
our just rights. Gentlemen, I have endeavoured in what I have said to give 
you all the information in my power concerning the business and the position 
of the Union, and I am encouraged to say, after passing it all in review, that 
the Union is to-day in a sounder condition and has better prospects than 
probably at any time since its formation. I do not mean to imply that we 
have been able to remedy all the mistakes that were made at the beginning, 
far from it. The effects of some of them are still only too apparent, and may 
never be entirely got rid of, but I claim that we have begun to reap the fruits 
of the continuous and drastic economies in administration and manufacture 
that we have originated, and that this, coupled with the excellent selling 
arrangements entered into for a period of five years certain, justifies me in 
the sanguine view that I have ventured to express to you. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 247 

REPORT FOR 1907. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1907. The quantity of salt delivered by the 
Company was 909,000 tons, as against 910,000 tons in 1906. The satisfactory 
increase in tonnage which was established last year has practically been 
maintained. 

2. SALT UNION v. BRUNNER, MOND & Co., LTD. It has not been 
necessary to proceed with the Appeal from the judgment of the Lord Chief 
Justice in this action, a friendly settlement having been effected by the sale 
of certain properties in the Northwich district. The contract has been 
sealed ; but as the conveyance was not completed by jist December, the 
transaction does not appear in the accounts now presented. 

3. DIRECTORATE. Mr. Charles Miller Crichton was appointed a director 
by your Board on i4th May last. 

4. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified, 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft, and rolling stock, in 
their several districts, have been maintained in good order. Depreciation 
has been written off craft at the same rate as in 1906, and the usual provision 
made for the replacement of rolling stock. 

5. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit 
amounts to 127,075 95. yd., or, including the balance 
brought forward from 1906, to 128,349 145. yd. From 
this has to be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 

54,000, leaving an available balance . . . . . . 74.349 *4 7 

Your directors recommend that dividends be declared 
at the rate of 7% plus 2 /- per share on the Preference 
Shares, amounting to . . . . . . . . . . . . 52,010 o o 

And at the rate of i /- per share on the Ordinary Shares, 

amounting to 10,000 o o 

That there be placed to General Reserve . . . . 10,000 o o 

Leaving a balance to be carried forward of .. .. 2,349 14 7 



74,349 14 7 
By Order of the Board, 

H. BOWMAN, 

Secretary. 

COLONIAL HOUSE, LIVERPOOL, 
yd March, 1908. 



34 8 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



NINETEENTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Nineteenth Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders in the Salt 
Union. Ltd., was held on March i2th, 1908, at the Law Association Rooms, 
Cook Street, Liverpool. Mr. George Henry Cox, J.P. (Deputy-Chairman), 
presided. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S SPEECH. 

The Chairman : Before I proceed to the main business for which we are 
called together, I must read to you a letter I have received from Sir Thomas 
Royden : " I much regret that I am unable to attend the annual meeting 
of the Salt Union on Thursday next, the I2th inst. Will you kindly place 
my resignation as chairman of the Company before the meeting, as I feel 
the duties are too onerous. I congratulate the shareholders on the success 
of last year's trading, and the strong financial position the Company has now 
attained. My warmest thanks are due to the shareholders for the confidence 
and support they have always given me, and to my co-directors and the staff 
for their assistance so generously given, especially by the Deputy-Chairman, 
who took my duties upon himself during my late illness. I venture to hope 
that the Salt Union is entering upon a period of greater prosperity " I now 
have much pleasure in submitting and asking you to adopt the report and 
balance sheet, and in doing so I may say that it is a matter of gratification 
to your Board, and must be equally so to you all, that I am able to ask you 
to accept what is, perhaps, the most satisfactory report (all things considered) 
that has been presented to the shareholders of the Salt Union. When I 
addressed you last year I ventured to point out that we had just emerged 
from the great contest that had raged between the salt-makers throughout 
the country " stronger than we were before ; that there was every prospect 
of prices being maintained, and, that as a result of this and our conservative 
policy in finance, I hoped that your patience would be rewarded in the near 
future." It is a great satisfaction therefore to be in a position to declare 
that these prophecies have been amply fulfilled, and that without in any way 
departing from our strictly conservative policy as regards the building up 
of the reserves, both disclosed and undisclosed, reserves which are so 
necessary to the well-being of an industrial Company such as ours ; and to 
declare as a further fulfilment of those prophecies that we are able to offer 
you a dividend. The tonnage dealt with has been practically the same in 
amount as last year, nearly 909,000 tons, as against 910,000. To my mind 
this is one of the 

MOST FAVOURABLE ITEMS IN THE REPORT, 

because it shows that, while we have enjoyed a decidedly higher average of 
prices, they have not been fixed at such a level as to check consumption. 
It is true that we have benefited considerably by the exceptional demand 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 249 

for fishery salt, but the utmost care has been taken to preserve every market 
both at home and abroad, and wherever there was outside competition, to 
meet it promptly. Summed up in a few words, the existing prosperity of 
the Union may be said to be the outcome of peace having been established 
between the salt manufacturers, and consequently of fairly remunerative 
prices having been obtained ; of the drastic economies and improvements 
spread over the past few years in relation to our manufacture ; of the very 
profitable working of our subsidiary companies and specialities ; and last, 
but not least, of what I have already alluded to, namely, our strictly con- 
servative finance. 

SETTLEMENT WITH MESSRS. BRUNNER, MONO AND CO. 

Before I go more in detail into the accounts I should like to refer to the 
settlement happily arrived at between Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. and 
ourselves. This has been reached, as briefly stated in the report, by the 
transfer on our part to Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. of, in all, about 350 
acres of land and minerals. It is rather difficult to convey to you exactly 
what these acres consist of ; I may describe them as in some cases land and 
minerals, in others surface without minerals, and again, minerals without 
surface, while a considerable part of this acreage is already covered by water. 
For this Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. have contracted to pay us ^125,000, 
each side to pay its own law costs. These, as you can readily understand, 
will be very considerable, owing to the protracted litigation spread over a 
long period, and will necessarily reduce the before-mentioned sum to a 
certain extent. As stated, the amount does not come into our accounts for 
1907, but will appear in due course in those of the current year. An extra- 
ordinary impression has got abroad, I understand, that we have used this 
money which by the way we have not yet received to enable us to pay 
the present dividend. Nothing could be further from our intentions or 
from the actual fact. This money when received must and will be treated as 
capital, and may be used for all legitimate capital expenditure. You will, 
therefore, recognise that the effect of the transaction has been to turn 
property that was, and was likely to remain, unproductive into a form in 
which it can be utilized for the general betterment of the concern. In this 
way the position of the Salt Union has been greatly strengthened, and a 
long-standing dispute with our neighbours satisfactorily ended. I may 
further state that we have still remaining an almost unlimited supply of 
brine and rock salt, so that your minds may be at rest as regards our own 
requirements in the future. Gentlemen, I feel a special satisfaction in finding 
myself to-day in a position to make this statement and explanation, for the 
negotiations have occupied several years, and have involved a great deal of 
thought, anxiety and labour on the part of all those who were engaged in 
them. May I express the hope that in future the two great companies, whose 
interests are so closely allied, may work together for their mutual benefit and 
protection in a perfectly friendly and cordial manner. 



2 5 o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

AN INTERESTING COMPARISON. 

I cannot resist recalling for a moment the very different position of the Union 
when I and some of my colleagues joined the Board ten years ago. Then, 
it is true, there was a reserve fund shown in the accounts of i 17,000, but it 
had been principally locked up in land and it was not available for practical 
purposes. The net revenue fell short of the debenture interest by ^21,000 ; 
and the Chairman and I had to seek an early interview with our banker, 
who thereupon granted us an overdraft of ^50,000 to enable us to carry on 
your concern. Now, as I have said, we have liquid assets to the tune of 
205,000 ; over and above all this we have installed our two great process 
plants at a cost of over ^100,000, the whole of which have been paid for by 
provisions set aside, from time to time, out of revenue. In conclusion, I 
think that while the results of the past year are very satisfactory, we may 
look to the working of the current year with confidence. It is true for I 
wish to be perfectly frank with you that of late there have been some 

THREATENED OUTSIDE DEVELOPMENTS 

in salt production, but we hope that the prompt action recently taken by the 
North- Western Salt Company will be the means of checking them. The price 
for fine salt for inland, always by far the most profitable description to 
produce, has been reduced by 55. per ton, and I feel sure that this will give 
pause to anybody who may have contemplated new developments. I have 
now much pleasure in moving : " That the report of the directors with 
statement of accounts for the year ended 3ist December, 1907, and balance 
sheet as at that date now submitted, be received and adopted." 

The Chairman then put the resolution to the meeting, and it was carried 
unanimously. 

DIVIDENDS. 

The Chairman : I now have to move : " That dividends for the year 
ended 3ist December, 1907, at the rate of 7 per cent, plus 2 /- per share on 
the preference shares and i /- per share on the ordinary shares respectively, 
be hereby declared, to be paid, less income tax, on and after the 4th day of 
April next." 

Mr. Alexander : I have much pleasure in seconding that. 
This resolution was adopted unanimously. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 251 



REPORT FOR 1908. 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1908. In the great wave of depression which has 
passed over this and all other countries, the salt trade has participated, and 
the quantity of salt delivered by the Union has been only 781,000 tons, as 
against 909,000 tons in 1907. The decline has been most marked in the 
demand for chemical salt, whilst exports have been seriously curtailed. 

2. BALANCE SHEET. The large decrease in the first item on the credit 
side of the balance sheet is mainly accounted for by the sale of properties to 
Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co., Ltd. The proceeds have been invested in 
first-class securities, including the purchase of a further 24,000 of the 
Company's Debenture Stocks. The financial position of the Company has 
been materially strengthened by the steady building up of available reserves 
of capital. 

3. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft, and rolling stock, in 
their several districts, have been maintained in good order. Depreciation 
has been written off craft at the same rate as in 1907, and the usual provision 
made for the replacement of rolling stock. 

4. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit 
amounts to 103,798 i8s. 7d., or, including the balance 
brought forward from 1907, to 106,148 135. 2d. From 
this has to be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 

54,000, leaving an available balance .. .. .. 52,148 13 2 

Your directors recommend that a dividend be declared 
at the rate of 6/- per share on the Preference Shares, 
amounting to .. .. .. .. ,'"" j^J . 000 

That there be placed to General Reserve . . . . 20,000 o o 

Leaving a balance to be carried forward of .. .. 2,148 13 2 



52,148 13 2 

The dividend will be payable on 5th April to shareholders registered on 
1 3th March. 

By Order of the Board, 

H. BOWMAN, 

Secretary. 

COLONIAL HOUSE, LIVERPOOL, 
i$th March, 1909. 



352 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 



TWENTIETH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Twentieth Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders in the Salt 
Union. Limited, was held in the Large Hall of the Exchange Station Hotel, 
Liverpool, on March 24th, 1909. Mr. George Henry Cox, Chairman of the 
Company, presided. 

CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman : Gentlemen, in moving the adoption of the report and 
balance sheet, I naturally regret, for your sakes as well as my own, that the 
results for the year 1908 are not so satisfactory as those for 1907. Our trade 
has suffered in common with all the other industries of this and other coun- 
tries, from the effects of the great financial crisis that occurred in the United 
States in the autumn of 1907. You will have noticed in the report that our 
tonnage has fallen off to the large extent of 132,000 tons, the actual tonnages 
being as follows for the past five years : 1908, 781,000 tons ; 1907, 909,000 
tons ; 1906, 910,000 tons ; 1905, 861,000 tons ; 1904, 890,000 tons. 

I do not for a moment wish to minimize the gravity of the position 
disclosed by these figures, because a lessened production means a higher cost 
per ton all round, an aggravation of the distress among our salt makers, and 
both directly and indirectly a reduced earning capacity. I am satisfied, 
nevertheless, that I shall be able to show you that this loss of tonnage has 
been quite beyond our control, while I may also say that it has been common 
to other members of the trade. It has chiefly arisen from the following 
causes : The falling off in demand 

FOR CHEMICAL AND OTHER COMMON SALT, 

due to the general trade depression ; to the fact that one large firm of 
chemical manufacturers has used a much larger proportion than formerly 
of salt produced at their own works ; that another manufacturing company 
has supplied itself for the first time from salt works recently started by it. 
Quite apart, therefore, from the shrinkage throughout the trade generally, 
these two instances (where manufacturers have used their own salt) account 
for a loss of tonnage of fully 33,000 tons. I may say that the total loss of 
tonnage for chemical purposes amounts to 59,000 tons. Another source of 
heavy decline has been the smaller shipments to the East, amounting to 
30,000 tons, and concerning which I propose to speak more in detail a little 
later on. Moreover, material reductions have occurred in shipments to the 
U.S.A. and Australia, the latter being attributable to the great increase of 
duty imposed on imported salt by our Colonial brethren, thereby showing 
how very little people are influenced in these matters by ties of kinship. 
There has also been a 

CONSIDERABLE FALLING OFF IN FISHERY SALT, 

but as it compares with an abnormal amount taken the previous season, 
owing to the record catches of fish which then took place, this reduction is 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 253 

not a cause for anxiety. In connection with the loss in chemical and common 
salt it is well to remember that the margin of profit is usually a small one ; 
and especially so in the case of the East Indian shipments. Much the most 
valuable trade is the fine salt for inland consumption, and you will be glad 
to learn that in this description our tonnage has been fully maintained. 
The net profits of the year have fallen off to the extent of 23,277, which, 
when you consider the serious decline in tonnage, and the reduced price of 
fine salt (namely, 5 /- per ton, mentioned to you at last year's meeting), 
coupled with the high cost of coal and materials, it is a matter for congratula- 
tion that the difference is represented by such a comparatively small sum. 

In relation to this I may say that the North-Western Salt Co., which 
regulates prices, has worked effectually. It has carefully considered the cir- 
cumstances attending the trade at home and abroad, and has from time to 
time arranged prices accordingly, so that you may rest assured that no 
markets have been lost by an attempt to exact too high prices, and I think 
that is an important matter for you to remember. On the contrary, 
especially low ones have been agreed to in several instances where there was 
a prospect of opening out fresh channels of trade, or retaining old ones in the 
face of competition. 

Beyond what I have already mentioned in connection with the Chemical 
Company, there has been no fresh development as regards production in this 
country. 

Unfortunately, this development by the said Company has not been 
confined to the making of salt for its own use in the manufacture of chemicals. 
The salt works are capable of putting a further 20,000 to 25,000 tons of 
common and fine salt upon the market for general consumption. So far the 
firm referred to is trying to sell in competition with us, and prices are being 
cut to meet it. At the same time overtures have been made to work through 
the North-Western Salt Co., but up to now without success. On the other 
hand opposition threatened from Barrow has been settled. It is a matter of 
common knowledge that the International Salt Company has been floated 
with a view to working, among other things, the Tee process of fusing rock 
salt. I am not aware that they have yet fixed upon a location for their 
works, but we do not in any case anticipate serious competition from fused 
salt. With regard to further possible development in salt making, I should 
like to take the present opportunity of referring to an important matter that 
has formed the subject of 

SERIOUS DEBATE IN THE WINSFORD URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL, 

and about which strong opinions are also held in other salt districts. The 
Salt Union is blamed for cutting up old pans that will never be required 
again, and thereby escaping rates which, rightly or wrongly, are levied on 
salt works on the basis of pannage. Let me say the Salt Union has no desire 
to shirk its fair proportion of the rates of the district. It is bound to pay 
them, apart from the manner in which they may be levied. But a much 



354 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

wider question was opened by some speakers, namely, concerning the large 
quantity of land held by the Salt Union, which is not now used for salt making 
or other purposes. Much of this land is leasehold, and I can only congratu- 
late the fortunate landlords upon having such an excellent and accommodat- 
ing tenant as the Salt Union, in view of the terrible decline that has taken place 
in the salt trade generally since the leases were entered into. No one laments 
more than the Salt Union does the heavy burden thus imposed upon it by its 
surplus land, both leasehold and freehold. When and where it can properly 
do so it welcomes any opportunity of being relieved of a part of it (vide our 
recent sale to Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co.) I and my Board have taken 
active steps of late, by advertisement and otherwise, to make known to the 
public our 

DESIRE TO PART WITH SURPLUS LANDS, 

but in self-defence we are obliged to bar salt making for sale. In the present 
state of the trade, when only a limited and even declining quantity can be 
marketed, it would be folly to encourage further production. I regret to 
say that the leaders of the working men think that they would benefit if 
more salt works were opened. Perhaps they might, for a short period, but 
the competition thus engendered would inevitably result in a ruinous range 
of selling prices and the closing of many works, combined with a lowering of 
wages and a less number of men being ultimately required. Meanwhile, 
both you and they may be sure that we shall spare no effort to dispose of 
property in all our districts when we can do so, with advantage to all con- 
cerned ; and that we should particularly welcome the establishment of new 
industries that would absorb the large reserve of labour now existing. To 
return for a moment to 

THE NET PROFITS. 

Their comparative stability in the face of such a large shrinkage of the salt 
trade may be attributed to several factors, to which I also alluded last year ; 
namely, our recently established economies in production and management, 
and the profitable nature of our subsidiary companies and specialities. These 
are matters for unmixed satisfaction, and I hope and expect that they will 
become even more marked in the future than they have been in the past. 
It is perhaps not desirable that I should say more in your own best interests 
concerning economic methods of production, beyond this that we beileve 
we are on right lines and that we mean to pursue them vigorously. This is a 
progressive age and the pace is a very fast one. Salt production cannot 
afford to stand still any more than other great industries can do so. Your 
Board is fully alive to the necessity of abandoning the old " rule of thumb " 
ways of working and of making use of the very best brains obtainable, 
together with the latest scientific knowledge and appliances. To this end 
we have strengthened our technical staff by the addition of Mr. G. W. 
Malcolm, who acts as our chief engineer, and who already fulfils our well- 
founded expectations of his capacity and energy. Now I promised to refer 
more in detail to our Indian trade. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 255 

OUR EAST INDIAN TRADE 

has been subjected to a combination of adverse influences, resulting in a 
diminution of tonnage and profits. A period of depression in freights is 
usually advantageous to our export trade, but in the present instance it has 
not proved so. As you know, we are largely dependent upon cheap ballast 
freights by the liners trading to the East. This shipment of salt is a mutual 
benefit shared by both ship and shippers. The room they had at our disposal 
last year was comparatively limited, because there was no inducement to 
send more steamers out than were absolutely necessary, in consequence of 
the low rates of freight homewards. At the same time our greatest com- 
petitors, the makers and shipers of Solar salt, have, owing to the state of the 
freight market, been able to make cheaper charters then they have ever done 
before ; and in the case of the Spaniards, have been able to ship larger 
quantities. Prices fluctuated considerably during the year in Calcutta and 
were fairly satisfactory on the whole, but in the last quarter of last and the 
first of the current year, they have ruled low and are likely to continue to do 
so. I ought not to omit recording the fact that our trade has been much 
hampered by the Swadeshi movement, which, however, shows signs of abat- 
ing. We shall continue to do all that we possibly can to maintain and extend 
our Eastern trade, and with this object Mr. Coltart has recently spent several 
months out there, and we hope some good will result from his labours. 

It will be manifest to you that in regard to this trade and, in fact, to our 
export trade throughout the world, the cost of production of the salt plus 
the cost of putting it free on board the steamer, is a very important factor in 
the business. This has become more than ever so owing to the development 
of late years of Solar salt and its great improvement in quality ; and also 
because of the excess of shipping tonnage causing low freights, and the con- 
sequent willingness on the part of the owners to take cargoes from ports that 
in 'former times they refused to visit save at high rates. This used to be a 
great obstacle, which in these days of depression in trade has disappeared. 
We are earnestly engaged in combating these influences, and as regards actual 
cost of production we have not much anxiety on that score. But when it 
comes to the cost of putting free on board it is another matter. Owing to 
the splendid service of steamers sailing from Liverpool, shipments must for 
the most part be made from there, while unfortunately the salt costs a great 
deal to bring from Winsford and Northwich, which are situated a good many 
miles from the seaboard. A considerable part of this cost arises from the 

HIGH DUES CHARGED BY THE WEAVER NAVIGATION 

and the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, namely, lod. and jd. per ton 
respectively (together is. id. per ton) I want you to mark this which is 
fully 20 per cent, on the cost of the salt. This is a tremendous handicap 
upon our export trade when added to the cost of barging, &c., and especially 
when we have to compete with salt produced on the sea-board in many other 
parts of the world. 



2 5 6 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

We have striven to obtain a reduction of these excessive dues, but while 
the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board has expressed its willingness to meet 
our wishes to a moderate extent on certain conditions, the Weaver Navigation 
has not so far seen its way to do so. I am afraid that the high cost of inland 
transit in the United Kingdom, as compared with that in other countries, is 
a serious menace to many export trades besides that of salt. 

The following table showing the 

NET PROFIT EARNED FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS 

will be of interest : 

i 

1908 103,798 

1007 127.075 

1906 70,104 

1905 68,399 

1904 87,022 

While we all naturally regret that 1908 should show a reduction compared 
with 1907, it is well to remember that it is much better than the three pre- 
ceding years. I feel sure that you 

WILL CONFIRM THE CONSERVATIVE MANNER 

in which we recommend that the profits of the year shall be dealt with. I 
want you to pay special attention to this, gentlemen. In view of the great 
changes that are now taking place, both in the production and distribution 
of salt, I think it is of the utmost importance that we should retain ample 
reserves in order that we may be in a position to meet any demands that will 
certainly be made upon us in the near future. In conclusion, it is true that 
the symptoms of a general recovery in trade throughout the world are not 
yet very pronounced. Nevertheless, I think it is safe to assume that, barring 
an outbreak of war, we shall witness a gradual improvement in which our 
particular branch will no doubt participate. We start from a low level and 
have the special advantage of being able to purchase our coal and other 
materials at a much less price than we have done for the past two years, and 
this, coupled with our untiring efforts to produce and distribute our salt 
economically, should enable us to look forward hopefully to the results of the 
current year. 

IRISH OPINION. 

Mr. William Milliken : I am sorry I cannot congratulate you upon the 
results of the year's trading, for you, as chairman, have on more than one 
occasion told us that with general trade bad, as it undoubtedly was last year, 
it was good for salt. Those words of yours have stuck in my memory. The 
falling off in tonnage by 128,000 tons is really alarming, and admitting the 
reduction in our exports to India by many thousand tons a month unprofit- 
able business, no doubt and the smaller demand for chemical salt, yet we 
are face to face with the tapping of our home trade by, say, 50,000 tons : 
30,000 odd you have explained. This situation does not impress us with a 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 257 

feeling of confidence, and we cannot but think it is partly due to want of good 
management. Those whom I represent still believe in the recommendations 
I have made here from time to time, with the view to improving the manage- 
ment, which, so far, the Board has been unwilling to adopt. Those whom I 
represent, after very careful consideration, want the Board strengthened. 
They also think it is too local ; the members are too much in contact with 
each other in this particular business and in other businesses ; and I think 
it has a tendency to produce echoes rather than deliberate voices. 

In replying to a series of questions put to him by Dr. McDougall, the 
Chairman said : Well, gentlemen, first of all we will go backwards. As 
regards administration I can assure Dr. McDougall that this matter has had 
the earnest attention of our Board ; but the difficulties of the trade are such 
that we have been compelled to increase in many cases the staff in order to 
try and maintain the trade, which we all regret has fallen off as regards 
tonnage. I can assure you that not a sixpence is spent that can be avoided. 
.... Now with regard to the Mond gas plant, I don't think it is to your 
interest that we should expose here to-day the exact results of that installa- 
tion. It is open to any of you to come and see for yourselves ; and we shall 
be very glad to show you. . . With regard to the cost of the coal, it has to be 
a special coal ; it is not the ordinary rubbish we burn under the ordinary 
pans ; but I can assure Dr. McDougall that the extra cost is more than com- 
pensated for by the ammonia we get out of it. With regard to the vacuum 
plant, I do not think it is desirable for me to say more than I have already 
said. I will repeat it. I said this : " It is, perhaps, not desirable that I 
should say more in your own best interest concerning economic methods of 
production, beyond this that we believe we are on right lines and that we 
mean to pursue them vigorously. This is a progressive age, and the pace 
is a very fast one. Salt production cannot afford to stand still any more 
than other great industries can do so." 

The Chairman then put the resolution to the meeting and declared it 
carried nem. con. 

PAYMENT OF DIVIDEND. 

The Chairman next proposed the payment of a dividend of 6/- per share 
on the preference shares, less income tax, on and after the sth April. 

The resolution was carried. 



258 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

TWENTY-FIRST ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Twenty-first Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders in the 
Salt Union, Limited, was held in the Large Hall, Exchange Station Hotel, 
Liverpool, on March 22nd, 1910. Mr. George Henry Cox, J.P., Chairman of 
the Company, presided. 

The report was as follows : 

1. UNION'S TRADE IN 1909. The quantity of salt delivered by the Union 
has been 774,00x3 tons as against 781,000 in 1908. There has been a further 
shrinkage in the quantity taken for chemical purposes, and owing to the bad 
fishing season a smaller demand for fish curing. Total exports have been 
better as regards tonnage, but owing to reckless foreign competition the price 
realized in the large Eastern markets has been very low. 

2. NEW PLANT. After careful investigation, your directors have deter- 
mined that competition can best be met by erecting works of the most 
modern type adjacent to the seaboard, and calculated to turn out 150,000 
tons per annum. A suitable site has been secured at Weston Point on the 
Manchester Ship Canal near the present works, specially adapted for loading 
large steamers with despatch. The plant, which is now in process of erection, 
and which is expected to be completed this year, is of the multiple vacuum 
type, the economic working of which has been abundantly proved. In conjunc- 
tion with the salt producing plant an electrical installation will be established. 

In connection with the existing vacuum plant at Winsford, the technical 
staff has happily invented a cheap process for the purification of the brine, 
which has been patented. This has already added largely to the efficiency 
of the plant, and also yields a supply of pure salt, for which there is a growing 
demand. An electrical installation is being added to this plant also for the 
purpose of supplying power and light to the whole of the Winsford Works, 
thus effecting large economies in the cost of driving the pumps, mills and 
other machinery. 

The capital expenditure of the above works is being met out of the proceeds 
of the recent sale of surplus lands, forming a satisfactory reinvestment. 

3. MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified 
that the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling stock in their 
several districts have been maintained in good order. Ample depreciation 
has been written off craft and rolling stock. 

4. PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit 
amounts to 100,438 8s. 8d., or, including the balance 
brought forward from 1908, to 102,587 is. rod. From 
this has to be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 

54,000, leaving an available balance .. .. .. 48,587 i 10 

Your directors recommend that a dividend be declared at 

the rate of 5 /- per share on the Preference Shares, amounting to 25 ,000 o o 

That there be placed to General Reserve . . . . 20,000 o o 

Leaving a balance to be carried forward of .. .. 3,587 110 

48,587 i 10 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 259 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman said : In moving the adoption of the report and balance 
sheet for the year ending 3ist December, 1909, I am glad to point out that 
the net profits do not materially differ from those earned in 1908. They 
would have been larger had it not been for circumstances in connection with 
our Eastern trade, that I shall allude to later on. If you bear in mind that 
this profit (and remember it is a net profit after all the charges have been 
deducted) of ^100,438 8s. 8d., has been realised upon a turnover of 774,000 
tons, a simple sum in arithmetic will demonstrate to you that 

THE PROFIT IS A VERY HANDSOME ONE 

per ton of salt dealt with, in fact I am going so far as to say it is a dangerous 
profit. You may naturally say " that is all very fine, so long as we share- 
holders get poor returns upon our capital." That unfortunate state of 
things I need not remind you is due to the original sin of over-capitalization, 
for which the present Board is in no way responsible, and I should like to 
impress upon you as much as I can this question of over capitalization, 
especially on those disappointed shareholders who, year by year, annually 
cry out that they are getting no dividend upon their ordinary shares ; and 
also to the lessened demand for the article which the Company produces, for 
which changes in the chemical industries are the chief cause. Reverting 
again to the above results, the main factors that have conduced to bring 
them about are the reduction in the cost of fuel, the continued prosperity 
of our subsidiary companies and specialities, combined with the economies 
effected in cost of production, &c. These have, fortunately, counter-balanced 
to a large extent on the one hand the average reduction in prices of salt that 
has taken place, and on the other the adverse returns from the shipments 
to India. I don't think there is anything requiring special notice on my 
part in the balance sheet, but I shall be glad to answer questions that may 
subsequently be asked with regard to it What will be of more interest and 
value is a statement with regard to the general financial position of the 
Company, which I shall ask our Accountant, Mr. Showell, to read to you. 
You may remember that five years ago he furnished you with one, and by 
our instructions he has now brought it up-to-date. I think, after hearing it, 
our most captious critics will be bound to admit that the position disclosed is 
a remarkable one, showing as it does a recovery from a practically moribund 
condition to that of a sound and healthy life, which has moreover been 
attained in spite of what appeared at one time to be almost overwhelming 
obstacles. 

THE COMPANY'S FINANCIAL POSITION. 

Mr. Showell then read the following statement of the financial position, 
as at 31 st December, 1909 : "In 1898 the financial position was a very weak 
one, there being a great deficiency of working capital. There was a nominal 
reserve fund of i 17,500, but even that had to be drawn upon to make up the 
deficit in the debenture interest for that year. The remainder of the reserve, 



2 6o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

which was entirely invested in the business, had to be swept away in con- 
nection with the capital reduction scheme in 1902. That scheme was merely 
one for writing down the book value of the assets on the one side and the 
nominal value of th? two classes of shares on the other, no real advantage 
to the Company accruing, apart from enabling dividends to be paid, which, 
until the loss on capital account was adjusted, could not be done. The scheme 
did not in any way improve the financial position, either by the provision of 
working capital, or by the modification of the very onerous dead charges for 
debenture interest, rents, and other obligations. It has, therefore, been 
necessary to gradually build up the finances, and during the past eight years 
a very different complexion has been put upon the financial position. There 
have been set aside out of revenue each year sums, which in the aggregate,, 
including the sum of 20,000 proposed to be allocated from 1909 accounts, 
bring the general reserve up to 100,000 and depreciation reserve to 50,000. 
So far as steamers, barges and rolling stock are concerned, the policy adopted 
in 1902, after the adjustment of capital, has been continued. During the 
period the sum of 5 1 ,000 has been written off the former, whilst a sum of 
43,000 has been set aside to provide new rolling stock, and for the recon- 
struction of existing stock to comply with the standard specification of the 
Board of Trade. These amounts are in addition to the cost of the ordinary 
up-keep of the working stock at a high standard of efficiency. The follow- 
ing is a summary of the reserves and provisions which have been made out 
of revenue since 1898 : 

i 

General Reserve . . . . . . . . . . 100,000 

Depreciation Reserve . . . . . . . . 50,000 

Insurance Funds . . . . . . . . . . 10,700 

Depreciation of Craft . . . . . . . . 51 ,000 

Rolling Stock Replacement . . . . . . 43,000 

Sundry other provisions . . . . . . . . 3,300 

258,000 

Of this sum there has been expended upon additions to and 
heavy renewals of craft and wagons referred to above (say) . . 38,000 



Leaving a balance of .. .. .. .. .. .. 220,000 

Whilst the expenditure upon new works (including the gas 
plant and Winsford vacuum plant), freehold properties and other 
additions and extensions during the period has been .. .. 138,000 



Leaving a balance out of revenue of . . . . . . . . 82,000 

To this sum has to be added the proceeds of the realization of 
property .. 115,000 



Leaving a net sum available of . . . . . . . . . . 197,000 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 261 

In addition to the improvement in the investments and cash the contrast 
between 1898 and the present account is striking as regards the amounts 
owing to and by the Company. In 1898 the debts owing by the Company 
exceeded the debts owing to the Company by ^15,700, whereas now the 
position is reversed, and the debts owing to the Company exceed the amount 
of our indebtedness by ^31,500, or an improvement of ^47,200. During the 
twelve years we have paid the shareholders dividends amounting to ^232,000. 

THE CHAIRMAN CONTINUES HIS SPEECH. 

The Chairman, resuming, said : Tonnage shows again a slight shrinkage 
but only a trifling one, the figures being for 1909, 774,000, as against 781,000 
for 1908. . . . Taking all things into account, and remembering that during 
1909 we were only slowly emerging from the great depression in trade caused 
by the United States financial panic of 1907, I consider that the year's 
trading, so far as the tonnage is concerned, is satisfactory. ... I referred last 
year to the formation of the International Salt Co., stating that it had not 
then fixed a location for its operations. You will be interested to learn that 
it has acquired a salt property near Carrickfergus, in Ireland, and has erected 
works on the principle of the Tee process of fusing rock salt, which it is said 
will be capable of turning out 1,500 tons per week of white salt. It was 
confidently expected that some of the salt would be produced last November, 
but none has yet made its appearance. When it is forthcoming the effort 
to market it will doubtless have 

A DISTURBING EFFECT UPON VALUES, 

but your directors do not alter their minds with regard to the practicability 
of the scheme generally, and this seems to be confirmed by the constantly 
delayed advent of the salt itself upon the market. The chemical firm that I 
also mentioned, namely, Messrs. Chance & Hunt, of Stafford, as having 
begun the production of salt for their own use, and also for sale, have con- 
tinued to work outside the North-Western Salt Co., in spite of mutual efforts 
made to arrange terms. Consequently their opposition has had to be met by 
smart reductions in prices, for we have been determined to maintain our 
inland trade, which we have succeeded in doing. I have alluded to these 
two concerns (and there are some others), who are working quite outside the 
North-Western Salt Co., in order that you may understand the actual 
position of the salt trade as a whole at the present time. In this relation 
it is necessary to realise that the North-Western Salt Co. itself terminates 
on the 3ist December, 1911, but it is manifest that a decision will have to be 
arrived at among its members during the current year as to whether it is to 
break up on the above date or to be extended, either on its present or some 
other basis, for a further period of years. There can be only one opinion as 
to what would be the best course for those interested, that is to say, if their 
object is to make money ! Salt is an article the supply of which can always 
be made to largely exceed the demand in the course of even a few months, 
and as in the case of many staple products, profit for the producer is well 



262 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

nigh impossible without some selling arrangement being established with 
competitors. The question for each to weigh is as to whether it is not better 
to agree to join in such an arrangement now, even though some may think 
they are entitled to a larger share than can be granted to them, rather than 
engage in a scramble for whatever tonnage they may thereby secure, but at 
prices which cannot leave a profit for anybody. Should the scramble be 
entered upon it will continue until all the producers have succeeded in losing 
a great deal of money, and it will undoubtedly be the most severe ordeal 
that the trade has ever gone through. When all are more or less exhausted, 
and some perhaps defunct, an effort will doubtless be made to bring about a 
settlement, relative tonnages will be agreed upon and prices fixed at remunera- 
tive levels. But surely the wiser course would be to enter into such an 
understanding before large sums of money have been lost, rather than after- 
wards. I need not say that your Board has always favoured this latter course, 
and it will work to that end in the future, while properly safeguarding its 
interests. The Salt Union must necessarily claim a very 

FULL SHARE OF THE TOTAL TRADE, 

to which its enterprise and its exceptional cheapness of production entitle 
it ; but while that is so, it is prepared to consider perhaps somewhat less 
favourable terms than it otherwise would do, if it can thereby secure an 
adequate profit for itself and peace throughout the trade. I am certain that 
this is the sound business way to approach the problem. Nevertheless I 
know that we shall have to encounter many among the smaller makers who 
will find it difficult to take a large or a long view of the situation, whose not 
unnatural ambition it is to get a greater share of the trade than they have 
hitherto enjoyed, and who think they may accomplish this in the event of a 
general struggle ; I would, however, warn these gentlemen that they are 
reckoning without their host, and that even if they succeeded it could only 
be after suffering much loss, which it would take them years of good trade to 
recoup, and in the end they would be no better off than they are to-day. 
Moreover, I would have our shareholders, and all interested in the welfare 
of the trade, remember that if an arrangement is come to for the future it 
must be with the object not only of benefiting it by a remunerative level of 
prices, but also, at times, of safeguarding it, by fixing a low level ; in other 
words, that the policy adopted must be one to secure moderate profits and 
to discourage the advent of fresh sources of production. Finally, I wish you 
to understand that whatever course may be decided upon, the Salt Union is 
fully prepared for any contingency that may arise. . . . 

THE TRADE WITH INDIA. 

I promised to say something more about our Indian trade, and while I desire 
to make you as fully acquainted with the position as I can, you will recognise 
that under all the circumstances it is a difficult and delicate task, for our 
competitors will naturally take advantage, if possible, of what I may state. 
The position is the opposite of that which obtains at present in other 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 263 

directions, for as regards the East, we are engaged in the most severe struggle 
that has ever taken place, in order to maintain the position that we have 
hitherto held. Much misapprehension is prevalent concerning the actual 
facts. It is thought that the Spanish shippers are the only serious competi- 
tors, but there are others, viz., Port Said, Germany, and several Red Sea 
ports. In the past we managed to market our salt at remunerative rates, 
but the addition of the Spanish salt (which for a time was recklessly poured 
into Calcutta and other markets), coming as it did into competition with the 
other salts mentioned, and causing an over-stocked market, resulted in a 
drop in prices to an unprecedented level. This caused the Spaniards to re- 
strict their shipments, and they and the other shippers succeeded in raising 
prices about ten rupees from the bottom. When, however, large sales out of 
stock were again attempted, prices at once relapsed. Subsequently a re- 
covery took place, but prices may even now be said to be 15 to 20 rupees 
below the normal average of recent years. We have throughout continued 
to supply the demand at current rates. Fortunately for us we established our 
vacuum plants and gas-fired plants in the nick of time I want you to take 
special note of that and what follows and we have been further liberally 
met as regards freights by the leading steamship companies. I do not 
hesitate to say that if it had not been for these advantages our trade would 
have ceased. As it is, we have undoubtedly been called upon to make some 
sacrifices, but we consider they are of a temporary character, and that it is 
worth while incurring them meanwhile in order to establish our position in 
the future. I may tell you that we have already had intimations from several 
of our competitors to the effect that they are prepared to consider some 
working agreement. It is evident that there can be little or no profit for 
anybody without such an arrangement as will regulate the shipments and 
prices ; and we are not averse to consider one, provided it is based on fair 
and equitable lines, but we shall not abandon the fight until we are assured of 

A SATISFACTORY SHARE OF THE TRADE. 

It is necessary in estimating the future to bear in mind also that the 
Spaniards have had exceptional advantages during the past two years. First, 
in that our British salt was boycotted owing to the Swadeshi movement. 
This was the outcome of the Partition of Bengal, which serves to illustrate 
how careful the rulers of India require to be if proper feelings on the part of 
the governed are to be maintained, together with satisfactory trade 
relationships. Second, in the unprecedently low freights at which they have 
been able to charter tramp steamers, the position of which has, however, 
already been materially altered to their advantage. I should say to-day they 
may have to pay about 2 /- a ton more than they did at the bottom of the 
freight market. 

THE WESTON POINT WORKS. 

This leads me to speak of the very important new departure which we 
have felt compelled to make in choosing a site on the Manchester Ship Canal 
for the erection of our second vacuum plant installation. Before going into 



264 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

particulars I think the time has come when I may safely declare for your 
information, and despite the fact that our competitors will also be made 
aware of it, that our experience of the working of the vacuum process has 
more than fulfilled our expectations, and that it is capable of great develop- 
ments, leading to further economies in working and to the establishment of 
other industries. One of these developments has been accomplished during 
the past few weeks, when we have succeeded, at small expense, in purifying 
our brine, with the result that we obtain a practically pure salt (analysis 
shows 99-80 per cent, of sodium chloride), and at the same time enable the 
vacuum plant at Winsford to increase its total output by about 25 per cent. 
in a given time. We have arranged that there shall be samples of this pure 
salt in small boxes at the door, and anyone who likes to take a sample is 
welcome to do so, and we should be glad if they would also show it to their 
friends. Besides the brine purification, we are engaged in connection with 
the Winsford vacuum plant, in turning our high pressure steam to profitable 
account in the production of electricity. This we propose to utilize by apply- 
ing it to all our machinery, pumps, &c., throughout the Winsford area, thereby 
doing away with our numerous steam boilers, &c., and consequently effecting 
many economies. What is particularly noteworthy is that after providing 
what is of great importance for ourselves we shall have a surplus to sell, 
which I hope and believe will be the means of helping and developing other 
industries in the neighbourhood, thereby enabling us to get rid of our unused 
property, and at the same time utilizing the superabundant labour which 
exists throughout the district. I may say in parenthesis that there are 
already one or two matters on the tapis in connection with the utilization of 
electricity at Winsford. 

Referring again to the second installation of vacuum pans at Weston 
Point, we secured on favourable terms a piece of land on the Manchester 
Ship Canal, closely adjoining our other property, and admirably situated for 
shipment into large or small vessels, and having at the same time ample rail 
accommodation. The Manchester Ship Canal Co. have throughout met us 
in a liberal and businesslike spirit, which I cannot help contrasting with the 
treatment received from other public bodies. They have agreed to dredge 
the canal and have built a fine sea wall so as to facilitate shipments. I have 
no hesitation, therefore, in saying that we shall be able to make and ship salt 
from there much cheaper than we can do from our inland works. This will 
enable us to compete successfully with our Solar salt rivals, together with 
the other salt producing centres situated on the seaboard of the United 
Kingdom. I believe that in this way we shall not only maintain our existing 
export trade, but materially extend it, and I am fully confident we will be 
able to gain a new trade altogether from this centre. As many of you know, 
the brine is already laid on in pipes from Xorthwich, and a portion of it has 
been used during the past thirty years for salt-making by ourselves, while 
Castner-Kellner & Co. purchase a quantity from us for their chemical works. 
The utilization of brine, therefore, at Weston Point is no new departure, and 
I entirely fail to see upon what grounds 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 265 

THE BUSYBODIES IN CENTRAL CHESHIRE 

base their objections to it being so utilized. If we are to uphold our position 
and command the export and coastwise trade, the salt must be made and 
manufactured on the seaboard. One of the marked features of the salt trade 
during the last twenty-five years has been the growth of the producing centres 
on the coast of England and Ireland, such as Middlesbrough, Fleetwood, 
Barrow, Isle of Man, Carrickfergus, &c., whose output now amounts to over 
half a million tons per annum. 

This installation at Weston Point will have a capacity of 150 to 200,000 
tons per annum. It will also have the adjuncts that I have mentioned in 
relation to the Winsford plant. The high pressure steam will be converted 
into electricity, which in turn will be utilized for the making of chemicals for 
our brine purification, and the by-product from which (bleaching powder) will 
be sold. All the engines and machinery in connection with the vacuum plant 
and the existing Mond gas producer plant will also be worked by electricity. 
We shall, moreover, have a large surplus to dispose of, and we have taken 
steps to obtain provisional orders to enable us to supply Widnes and the 
Runcorn Rural and Urban Districts with power or light. 

We believe there is a great field for the profitable use of electrical power 
and light in these two areas, and we have already had many inquiries from 
those desirous of obtaining it. It must be common knowledge to many of 
you that there is a rapid advance taking place in the utilization of electricity 
where it can be obtained on moderate terms. I know of districts where 
factories and industries are springing up like mushrooms because of this 
vitalizing energy of electricity. 

You will naturally want to know what all these developments will cost, 
and I shall therefore proceed to tell you. The estimates at present amount 
to ^115,000, and this will be provided out of the proceeds of our recent sale 
of brine lands and other property to Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. This 
money could only be used as capital, and not a penny of it could be dis- 
tributed. Consequently we are reinvesting it in the business in the shape 
of up-to-date plant, and we feel confident that it will prove to be an excellent 
investment. When all is completed I do not hesitate to assert that the Salt 
Union will possess 

THE BEST EQUIPPED SALT WORKS IN EUROPE, 

and I think I may add, in the world. 

Mr. Cooke : The Chairman made a remark about the busybodies of 
Cheshire, and referred to what is called the Marbury brine pipe, and as I have 
been associated with that part of the country for a great number of years I 
thought it rather desirable that the shareholders should know why the Salt 
Union stands in a different attitude to-day to what it has ever done at any 
previous meeting. Up to the present the Salt Union has had the sympathy 
of the four local authorities of Northwich, Middlewich, Sandbach and 
Winsford because the bulk of the labour has been employed in those districts 
and they had to put up with the damage from the subsidence. There is not 



266 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

a single Railway or Canal Act which goes through the salt district that does 
not contain a clause that brine shall not be taken in a pipe, showing that our 
forefathers looked on brine as the only mineral which would run in a pipe. 
The Chairman rightly said some years ago salt was taken down to Weston 
by the Mersey Brine Co., but in such small quantities and with such few 
facilities that really it was not worth while bothering about. 

Dr. McDougall : I rise to a point of order. I don't think all this is to 
the advantage of the shareholders. We meet as shareholders, and notwith- 
standing my great and profound respect for Mr. Cooke I think we ought to 
limit discussion of this description. 

The Chairman : With reference to what Dr. McDougall says I would like 
to make an appeal to Mr. Cooke. We have gone into this matter thoroughly 
and we have taken two or three years to consider it. We believe we are 
perfectly right in what we are doing and that it is for your interests. I will 
go further than that and say that what Mr. Cooke is saying now will be known 
to the public generally and to our competitors through the medium of the 
Press, and with those who do not understand the matter it is calculated to do 
your Company a very great deal of harm, and I therefore call upon Mr. Cooke 
to cease pursuing the subject. 

The proposition was then put and carried. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 267 

TWENTY-SECOND ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Twenty-second Ordinary General Meeting of the shareholders in the 
Salt Union, Ltd., was held on March 2oth, 1911, in the Large Hall, Exchange 
Station Buildings, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool. Mr. G. H. Cox, J.P., 
presided. 

THE REPORT. 

UNION'S TRADE IN 1910. The quantity of salt delivered by the Union 
has been 838,000 tons, as against 774,000 in 1909, thus showing a gratifying 
increase of 64,000 tons. 

NEW PLANT. The new vacuum plant erected on the banks of the Man- 
chester Ship Canal at Weston Point is practically complete, and is expected 
to start work next month. The very low range of prices which obtained in 
Calcutta throughout most of the year has further emphasized the impos- 
sibility of conducting this trade satisfactorily from inland works. 

POWER SCHEME. As regards the electrical installation to be worked in 
conjunction with the vacuum plant, a Company is being formed by the Union 
to take over the Provisional Orders, for the supply of electric current, granted 
to Mr. Cox and Mr. Falk as its nominees. The initial capital will be found 
by the Union ; but as the business develops, and further capital is required, 
the shareholders will be afforded the first opportunity of subscribing it. 
Negotiations with several large consumers of power have already commenced, 
and there are indications that the whole available supply will be absorbed 
within a comparatively short period. 

MR. JAMES HODGKINSON'S PROCESS. An agreement has been made 
with Bowman, Hodgkinson & Company, Limited, for an exhaustive test of 
this process, which is being carried out at Northwich. Under this agreement 
your directors are in a position to acquire the rights for the United Kingdom 
should the test prove successful and the validity of the patents be estab- 
lished to their satisfaction. 

MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified that 
the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling stock in their 
several districts have been maintained in good order. Practically the whole 
of the rolling stock now complies with the latest specification of the railway 
companies, a considerable portion being new. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit amounts 
to 109,973 195. iod., or, including the balance brought 
forward from 1909, to 113,561 is. 8d. From this has to 
be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 54,000, 
leaving an available balance . . . . . . . . . . 59.5^1 i 8 

Your directors recommend that a dividend be declared 
of 5 /- per share on the Preference Shares, amounting to . . 25,000 o o 

That there be placed to General Reserve . . 20,000 o o 

And to Depreciation Reserve . . . . . . . . 10,000 o o 

Leaving a balance to be carried forward of . . . . 4.5^1 i 8 



59.56l I 8 
V 



268 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

THE CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. 

The Chairman : Well, gentlemen, in moving the adoption of the report 
and balance sheet for 1910, it will not be necessary for me to go at great 
length into many matters that I felt it my duty to do on a similar occasion 
last year. We have steadily pursued the course that I then indicated to 
you. with, on the whole, satisfactory results. You may be disappointed in 
that these results are not better, especially as the volume of trade has been 
greater, but we continue to be faced by the same old difficulties and problems 
for instance, the original sin of over-capitalization of the Company in 
relation to its trade, and the tendency to over-production of salt on the part 
of others as soon as a profitable basis is established. I want you to bear 
these two points always steadily in mind. Moreover, the increased trade 
was in the least profitable qualities, and we had also to contend against 
dearer coal. Consequently, our constant endeavour has been to overcome 
or modify these drawbacks as far as possible, by cheapening our cost of manu- 
facture and shipment. You will notice that we have gained 64,000 tons, and 
should we gain a further similar amount during the current year (which is 
by no means improbable) we shall again reach the 900,000 ton level. At all 
events, I believe we touched low water mark as regards tonnage in 1909, and 
that the tide of increase will continue to flow in future 

THE STABILITY OF YOUR PROPERTY. 

It would be much pleasanter for your Board to be in a position to declare 
higher dividends, but that happy situation can only be attained after long 
and patient efforts have been expended upon the strengthening of the 
financial position, and also upon the thoroughly efficient equipment of the 
works. That is my reply to those shareholders who write to us complaining 
that we do not distribute more in dividends, instead of placing considerable 
sums to reserve as we have, I think, wisely done for several years. \Yith 
reference to plant, you will be pleased to learn that out new works at Weston 
Point are practically completed, and we hope will turn out salt in a few 
weeks. Some unforeseen delay occurred in the erection owing to difficulties 
with the foundations, else I should have been able to announce to-day that 
we were making salt. I very much regret that I am not in that happy 
position. I may say that the installation is a most imposing one ; it is 
elegant in design and yet bears abundant evidence of its power and capacity. 
It is indeed a wonderful monument of skill and ingenuity, and does infinite 
credit to our engineer (Mr. Malcolm), to the makers (the Mirrlees- Watson 
Company, Limited), and to all those who have been engaged in its erection. 
Electrical power engines are in their place, and ready to produce what 
electricity we require for our own work, both chemical and mechanical, and 
further engines are under order to increase the supply for customers who 
wish to use it. As stated in the report, a separate company has to be formed 
to comply with the Provisional Order Regulations. The Salt Union will 
find the initial capital requisite, but when further development is due and 
more capital wanted, we propose to give the shareholders of the Salt Union 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 269 

the first opportunity of subscribing it. I might here interpolate a cordial 
welcome to any of our shareholders to visit these new works. I think they 
will be an eye-opener to many of you, and I am sure you will be surprised 
when you see how your money has been laid out. 

As already shown by our increased tonnages, the trade generally has 
been in a healthy condition, the chief increases being shown in export, fishery 
and chemical descriptions. There has been active competition in the home 
trade, with the result that prices in many districts were lower than they 
would otherwise have been. The International Salt Company, that I referred 
to last year, has not yet succeeded in placing any material quantity of salt 
made by the Tee fusing process on the market. You will also recollect that 
I reminded you that the North Western Salt Company would terminate on 
3ist December of the current year. An attempt was made a few months 
ago to arrange for a continuance in some form, and we agreed to take part 
on certain terms. But those offered by the other manufacturers were so 
unacceptable that the negotiations had to be dropped. The trade is aware 
that we are still willing to consider any amended ones that they may have to 
offer, with a view to establishing a working agreement ; but at present there 
does not appear to be any inclination on their part to do so. The situation 
is undoubtedly complicated by the fact of several important manufacturers 
being already outside even the existing arrangement. It looks, therefore, 
as if the issue will have to be decided by the primitive, not to say barbarous, 
arbitrament of a fight for supremacy, and it may be worth while for those 
interested to reflect that the battle is likely to end in victory for those who 
are best equipped, and who have the latest and most perfect weapons. Apart 
from this it does seem to be a pity that good money should be thrown away 
in order to arrive at what is the right proportion of the trade for each manu- 
facturer to have. 

THE INDIAN TRADE. 

I must now refer to our Indian trade, about which I spoke to you at our 
last meeting. It has continued to give us cause for much anxious thought 
and care, especially during the first half of the year, when all the shippers, 
and notably those from the Red Sea, Port Said and Spain, flooded the market 
with salt, which was consequently sold at excessively low prices prices 
previously quite unheard of and undreamt of. As we were determined to 
maintain our hold in Calcutta, we supplied our buyers there at proportionately 
low rates. Finally, the Spanish shippers agreed with us to limit their own 
shipments, and to uphold prices along with us. All the other shippers were 
free, as before, to ship and sell as they thought fit. Even this partial arrange- 
ment had a marked effect, and prices gradually advanced ten to fifteen 
rupees from the lowest point. This settlement ended on the jist December 
last, but, nevertheless, the Spaniards have restricted their shipments and 
values have suffered only a slight decline. 

I may tell you that to-day we have had a cable stating that the values 
have rather more than recovered that little decline. I want to make it as 



2 7 o A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

clear as I can not only to you, gentlemen, and to our whole body of 
shareholders, but to the outside public as well, a section of whom have, of 
late, presumed a knowledge and direction of our affairs to which they are 
certainly not entitled that the Spaniards are only one and I want to 
emphasize that of many competitors in Calcutta, and that they are by no 
means the most formidable. In other words, we have got to face the fact 
that we shall always have to contend with 

A LOW RANGE OF PRICES THERE, 

much lower than we used to think possible. What I have just said is fully 
borne out by the figures of sales in Calcutta of crushed salt during the year 
under review. (Our salt is classed there as crushed.) The Spaniards have 
lost tonnage to a very considerable extent, whereas the Red Sea and Port 
Said have gained to a much larger extent than the Spaniards have lost ; while 
we and the Germans show a moderate gain. The total sales are 37,000 tons 
in excess of those of the previous year. The stocks of all descriptions ended 
at about half what they stood at at the beginning of the year, which was a 
healthy feature. We feel that the existing situation fully justifies the deter- 
mined fight that we carried on for several years, and also its cost, and we now 
anticipate that the produce of our new works at Weston Point will enable 
us, not only to supply what we have hitherto done, but to capture a larger 
share of the Calcutta trade in the future. The rise in freights for tramp 
steamers, on which our competitors are dependant, is another disadvantage 
to them as compared with the ballast freights at our disposal from the 
Mersey. Hence the general outlook for our trade is brighter than it has 
been for a considerable time. 

The Chittagong and Rangoon markets, to which we sent practically 
nothing in 1910, have greatly improved in prices, and we have arranged to 
ship considerable quantities thither during the present year. I told you 
last year that we had opened a new market by shipments of 17,000 tons to 
Japan and Siberia, and I am glad to say we are sending about a similar 
quantity again this month. But perhaps the most satisfactory thing is that 
throughout the East the consumers have learnt to appreciate our vacuum 
pan salt and to prefer it to other descriptions. 

THE MARBURY BRINE PIPE. 

The other matter is one which was brought to your notice before, and 
which has also occupied a good deal of space in the Press, namely, the 
question of our right to carry our brine pipe at Marbury over the North 
Staffordshire Canal. The mischievous agitation has been continued through- 
out the year, with the result that the North Staffordshire Railway Co. (who 
are the owners of the canal) acting upon the advice of counsel, have given 
us notice to terminate the agreement whereby we have hitherto paid them 
five pounds per annum for the wayleave. Should any steps be taken to 
compel the removal of our pipe, we are ready to defend our position in the 
law courts, and up to the House of Lords, if necessary, because we are advised 
by the most eminent of counsel that we have a perfect right to the pipe as- 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 271 

it exists. In any case, we can provide ourselves with brine at a compara- 
tively small cost in other ways than by taking it over the canal. Further, 
should litigation be entered upon, heavy expenses will be incurred, and as 
important ratepayers we have quite recently formally protested against the 
public money being used for such a purpose, and are taking steps to hold 
those who may have authorised any such expenditure responsible for it. 
Within the last few days a pamphlet has been issued, presumably with the 
sanction of the Local Authorities' Advisory Committee, as a paragraph at 
the end of it states that any further information required may be obtained 
from their Secretary, Mr. J. Arthur Cowley. One of the most remarkable 
things connected with this extraordinary production is its title, which is as 
follows : " The Truth " mark you, the Truth " about the Marbury Brine 
Pipe and its effects upon the Cheshire Salt District." To anyone who knows 
what the actual facts of the case are, the application of this title will appear 
to be singularly out of place. If I may be allowed to parody a well-known 
phrase used by a distinguished Statesman, I should be inclined to re-christen 
the document 

" A COLLECTION OF INTERMINABLE INEXACTITUDES !" 

Nothing can save the export trade in salt for Mid-Cheshire, so far as the 
great bulk of it is concerned, for the very simple reason that it has to compete 
with sources of supply which are much more favourably situated, not only 
foreign sources of supply, but even supplies in our own islands. Fortunately 
for the inland towns, some of the finer and special export qualities will still 
be retained for the old plants, and we are constantly working and success- 
fully to that end. But I do earnestly wish I could make it understood, 
once for all, that the great Eastern markets and some Western ones also 
which absorb anything from 150,000 to 200,000 tons of salt per annum, are 
irrevocably lost to Mid-Cheshire, and would be so even if the Weaver tolls 
were abolished altogether. Therefore, if by any chance our enterprise at 
Weston Point were stopped, the above trade would cease. I feel that you 
will entirely endorse my description of the agitation against the pipe as not 
only mischievous but mistaken. Gentlemen, we have been very patient both 
for ourselves and on your behalf throughout the whole year, and we have 
not entered into any controversy at all with regard to it, and the other side 
have had much of their own way, but I think the time has now come when 
our patience, and especially your patience, is exhausted. It is mischievous 
because it throws doubt upon our great undertaking and frightens uninformed 
and timid shareholders. Yet the whole body of our shareholders have borne 
a heavy burden for several years in order to keep the market open in the hope 
and expectation of being ultimately able to reduce the cost of shipment and 
thus carry on the trade, which otherwise must be abandoned. It is mistaken 
because it cannot accomplish the objects which it sets out to do, namely, to 
stop the brine supply at Weston Point and to retain the trade for the inland 
towns. To have even to argue or discuss the matter makes me feel as if we 
were living in the middle ages instead of in the twentieth century ! 



37 a A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

QUESTIONS BY SHAREHOLDERS. 

The Chairman : Before putting the resolution it is open to any gentleman 
to make any remarks or ask any questions. 

Mr. J. Hunter: Will the Chairman please inform the shareholders how 
long the pipe which conveys the brine to Weston Point has been laid down ? 

The Chairman : About thirty years. 

Mr. W. Martland : I see by the statement of accounts an item " Extra 
services of Directors ,2,000 what is that for ? Then it is shown here that 
you have money invested in the preference shares of South American railways. 
I think they are very risky indeed invested in South America. 

The Chairman : I did not quite catch your second question. What was 
it? 

Mr. Martland : You have money invested in the preference shares of South 
American railways. 

The Chairman : Well, answering your second question first, we have 
practically sold all our South American railway stock at a profit on what we 
paid for it. With regard to the first question it is one that comes up peren- 
nially, which I try to answer as clearly as I can year by year. These extra 
services represent practically the services of two gentlemen who really ought 
to be designated managing directors. If they were so designated the amount 
which they receive would go into administration and you would know nothing 
about it. I almost think we are the only Company that has the shall I 
say, the honesty to show exactly what we do pay. In most other companies 
there are a number of managing directors gentlemen who give their entire 
services and all their time to the work of their companies, and they are very 
properly paid well for those services, and that amount of money is always 
placed in administrative charges and it is not shown to the shareholders. We 
are more honest, gentlemen, and we show it. 

Mr. J. R. Coates : Mr. Chairman, I should like once more to suggest that 
shipments to Calcutta be left to the merchants and ship-owners, and that 
the Company only deliver the salt alongside. 

The Chairman : I am sorry to say, sir, we cannot turn the clock back. 
There are no merchants of that kind now who are willing to buy it. I wish 
there were. I will now put the resolution, viz., " That the report of the 
directors, with statement of accounts for the year ended jist December, 
1910, now submitted, be received and adopted." 

The resolution was carried unanimously. 

THANKS TO THE CHAIRMAN. 

Dr. McDougall : I beg to move " That our best thanks be given to the 
Chairman," and allow me to endorse what the Chairman has said about the 
plant at Weston Point. I think it would serve a very intelligent and useful 
purpose if the shareholders of this concern, or as many of them as can, would 
pay a visit to Weston Point and see that beautiful and interesting plant there. 
I have spent some considerable time in examining the plant in the last three 
or four days, and while I confess that my knowledge of the plant is not of a 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 273 

very extensive character I was agreeably surprised to find so admirably 
arranged a mechanical organization such as that plant is. It redounds to the 
credit of all concerned. I am not going to speak of its probable success as a 
salt-making machine, but on the other hand we cannot overlook the fact 
that we have science condensed there in a form which I have not read or 
known of before. I feel sure that the Chairman and the directors are to be 
congratulated in grasping the situation in the way in which they have done, 
and in trying to bring about the condition of things that we have ; and with 
that, and that only, is there any hope of this concern floating safely above 
water. I feel sure that every shareholder in this place and elsewhere it 
would amply pay them if they were to see such a splendid mechanical con- 
trivance. I know you have been hampered and annoyed to a very large 
extent by unnecessary gabble. I cannot call it by any other name than 
unnecessary gabble, for as a matter of fact brine does not go out of the county 
of Chester. Brine is imported from Winsford, and therefore it is in the 
interest of labour in addition. At any rate, we have this satisfaction that 
the present body of directors will continue the progressive movement which 
they made some years ago. 



374 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Twenty-third Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders of the Salt 
I'nion. Ltd., was held at the Exchange Station Hotel, Liverpool, on March 
j 5th. Mr. G. H. Cox, Chairman of Directors, presided. 

THE REPORT. 

UNION'S TRADE IN 1911. The quantity of salt delivered by the Union 
has been 875,000 tons, as against 838,000 tons in 1910, thus showing the very 
satisfactory increase of 37,000 tons. 

NEW PLANT. The new vacuum plant at Weston Point started work last 
May, and has unquestionably strengthened the position of the Union by 
enabling it to meet foreign competition on more favourable terms. Large 
shipments have been made from these works to India and other competitive 
markets, which could not have been made from the works at Winsford and 
North wich. 

POWER SCHEME. The Union has subscribed for 50,000 i shares in the 
Mersey Power Company, Ltd., and has good reason to anticipate a remunera- 
tive return on this investment in the future, as the progress made by that 
company in making contracts for the supply of power to large works has 
been most satisfactory. 

MR. JAMES HODGKINSON'S PROCESS. Not being satisfied with the test 
of this process, your directors have decided not to acquire the patent rights. 

BRINE PUMPING (CHESHIRE) BILL, 1912. A Bill bearing this title has 
been promoted by some of the Mid-Cheshire Urban District Councils and the 
County Council, the purpose of which is to prevent the manufacture of brine 
products at a greater distance than three miles from the pumping station. A 
petition against this Bill has been deposited by the Union, and it is the 
intention of your Board to oppose it strenuously in Committee. 

MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified that 
the respective works, plant in operation, craft, and rolling stock in their 
several districts have been maintained in good order. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit amounts 
to 125,896 2s. 7d., or, including the balance brought 
forward from 1910, to 130,457 43. 3d. From this has to 
be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 54,000, 
leaving an available balance . . . . . . . . . . 76,457 4 3 

Your directors recommend that a dividend be declared 
of 7/6 per share on the Preference Shares, amounting to . . 37,500 o o 

That there be placed to General Reserve . . . . 25,000 o o 

And to Depreciation Reserve .. .. .. .. 10,000 o o 

Leaving a balance to be carried forward of . . . . 3,957 4 3 

76,457 4 3 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 275 

CHAIRMAN REVIEWS THE YEAR'S WORK. 

The Chairman said : When moving the adoption of the report and balance 
sheet for 1910, I ventured to congratulate you upon the increase of tonnage 
then recorded, the total for that year being 838,000 tons. I have now to 
draw your attention to the fact that for last year our total reached 875,000 
tons, thus very closely approaching the figure that I hoped we might reach, 
namely, 900,000 tons. Last year I expressed the view that we were on the 
flood tide with regard to tonnages, and the events have borne out what I 
then predicted. I am of opinion that the tide is still on the flood, and I look 
for a further increase during the current year unless, indeed, we are 
materially checked by labour troubles. 

The net result of our trading is very satisfactory. It is the best of the 
past fifteen years, excepting only 1907, when the net profit, at 127,075 95. 7d., 
was slightly better than the 125,896 2s. 7d. earned in the year under review. 
Not only have we thus approximated very closely to the 1907 result, but if 
you will turn to the current accounts you will notice that our policy of 
strengthening the reserves, &c., has greatly improved the position of the 
Union, compared with what it was five years ago. . . . The 

GROSS PROFITS 

show an increase of 25,000, whilst the dividends, discounts, &c., are 
6,100 down, partly due to the receipt of less interest from our investments. 
The net profits, therefore, are 16,000 better than those of the previous year, 
after setting aside 10,000 extra depreciation on plants, &c. . . . 

MODERNIZING OF PLANT. 

To return to our own progress in the modernizing of our plant, I am glad 
to inform you that the Winsford vacuum plant, and the brine purification 
plant connected with it, have continued to work most satisfactorily throughout 
the year. That remark applies also to the electrical power scheme which is 
operated in conjunction with the Winsford vacuum plant. The average 
weekly tonnage of salt made by this plant has been increased, whilst several 
of the weekly runs established fresh records. The Winsford electrical plant 
has given excellent results, and has proved the superior economy of electricity 
as compared with the old system of driving by steam, which was the method 
previously used in the district. We are installing additional drying and 
sieving machinery, these additions being necessary to enable us to cope with 
our orders. The gas plant at Weston Point has done exceedingly well, and 
the further advance in the price of sulphate of ammonia has materially 
increased the value of the plant as an adjunct to our business. Finally, with 
regard to the new vacuum plant at Weston Point. As stated in our report, 
operations were begun there about the middle of May last year. Scarcely a 
hitch of any kind has since occurred ; but the training of a new set of workmen 
for a plant of this description takes a considerable time. However, both men 
and plant are now getting into their stride, and the out-turn is already largely 
in excess of what it was at the beginning. And under the more favourable 
conditions which will follow the installation of the two 1,500 K.W. turbo- 
alternators the plant will, I believe, largely exceed in out-turn even the 



276 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

figures which it has already attained to. The delivery of these turbo- 
alternators, I may tell you, has been greatly delayed owing to pressure of 
work in the contractors' engineering shops, and also to strikes, &c. Hence 
the development of our electrical power scheme has been much retarded. 
Meanwhile our subsidiary, the Mersey Power Company, Limited, has made 
further large and favourable contracts with various consumers in the district 
for the supply of this power, and I believe that, before very long, all our avail- 
able power will have been disposed of. The Union still holds the 50,000 
Mersey Power shares which it subscribed for, so that profits made by the Power 
Company, will, of course, come into the coffers of the Salt Union. It may be, 
however, as I intimated last year, that further extensions, if decided upon, 
will be financed by a public issue of the Power Company's shares. If that is 
done, our own shareholders will be given preferential allotment ; but it is the 
Union's intention always to retain a dominating interest in the Power 
Company. . . . 

INDIAN TRADE. 

Coming to the Indian trade, we have experienced important fluctuations 
in price, fortunately this time, on balance, in a favourable direction. The 
disastrous trade of the previous two or three years led to a general desire, 
amongst shippers of solar salt, for a higher level of prices, which would ensure 
some profit instead of heavy losses. We were willing to fall in with their 
wishes, on the understanding that we had a full proportion of the tonnage. 
There can be no shadow of doubt and I want you to take a special note of 
this that the solar shippers were largely influenced, in their desire for an 
agreement, by the knowledge of our ability to make and ship salt cheaply 
from Weston Point. One of the most important of them, I may say, actually 
came over and visited our works, which made a great impression on his mind. 

This arrangement affected prices favourably, resulting in a change from 
the heavy losses of the past to a period of reasonable profits. But you will 
understand the great uncertainty of this market when I tell you that, early 
in December, a cargo of solar salt was shipped from Aden by a new shipper 
who had obtained a concession from the British Government, and the arrival 
of this cargo in Calcutta caused, immediately, a fall in value of ten shillings 
per ton. This brought values, once more, to a level which left losses all 
round. There has been a recovery since, and for the moment prices are at a 
fairly remunerative level. But there is no guarantee of permanency ; we 
hear, indeed, of cargoes being shipped from still further new sources of supply, 
in competition with the salt shipped by the Union and by the older-estab- 
lished solar salt shippers. Facts like these demonstrate the necessity of our 
being able to make, and to ship, salt from the United Kingdom at the lowest 
possible cost, if we are to retain a secure hold on the great Eastern markets. 
Last year's exports to these markets, I am glad to say, reached the increased 
and substantial total of 208,000 tons against 166,000 tons for 1910. No 
one, I am confident, will question the fact that a trade of this magnitude 
must not be sacrificed if it can possibly be held. Not only is it important to 
the shareholders of the Salt Union, but to the landowners in Cheshire, and 
the great shipping interests of Liverpool. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 277 

MARBURY BRINE PIPE. 

This brings me, continued the Chairman, to the thorny question of the 
Marbury brine pipe, because, as you are aware, our Weston Point interests, 
and the cheaply made and cheaply shipped salt, depend for their existence 
upon that pipe. A year ago I endeavoured, in the clearest possible language, 
to explain the position of the Salt Union in this matter. The local authorities 
concerned have, however, persisted in their agitation, although in the incon- 
ceivable event of its success it would render abortive the Union's efforts 
and sacrifices to retain the Eastern markets. I then stated that if the Eastern 
trade and some other export trades cannot be done from Weston Point they 
certainly can never be carried on from Mid-Cheshire. I described the 
agitation as mischievous and mistaken, mild terms considering the great 
interests which are being so unwarrantably attacked. But, apparently, 
those who are engaged in it still hug the belief that, if the Weston Point works 
could be stopped, the trade would be brought back to Mid-Cheshire. Re- 
cently Sir Edward Grey, in one of his weighty speeches, pregnantly remarked 
" that it was not a difficult thing to tell the truth, but very difficult indeed 
to get people to believe it !" That epitomizes our experience in this brine 
controversy. In spite of my deliberate statements and I have been pre- 
pared to prove every fact which I have put forward the misconceptions 
prevalent when the agitation began (now more than two years ago) are still 
believed. Fuel has been added to the flames by the fact that the Cheshire 
County Council, 

BY A STATUTORY MAJORITY OF ONE, 

ultimately decided to join in the promotion of the Brine Pumping (Cheshire) 
Bill, 1912, which will shortly be discussed in the Committee-room of the 
House of Lords. A narrow view is, perhaps, not unnatural to the small 
Councils, obsessed by fears as to their prosperity under the new conditions. 
Even in their case, however, wilful blindness to the facts and to the plain 
deductions from those facts, is inexcusable. Suppose (for instance) that the 
Salt Union, in the same narrow spirit, had declined to promote the manu- 
facture of salt at a distance from its existing pumping stations, in order to 
conserve its own very large possessions in Mid-Cheshire, which include 
houses, shops, &c., as well as lands and brine ! The result simply would have 
been that, sooner or later, a large portion of the export trade would have 
been permanently lost, and no benefit would have accrued to Mid-Cheshire. 
But whatever may be said for the small Councils, the fact that a body of 
gentlemen, like that comprised in the Cheshire County Council, could adopt 
this parochial attitude makes one 

DESPAIR OF OUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES. 

The Council has, it is true, guaranteed the interest on the Weaver Navigation's 
bonds ; but the very remote chance that the Weaver tolls may fall, to an 
extent that would bring this guarantee into operation, cannot be said to justify 
the Council's action, especially considering that the stoppage of salt-making 
at Weston Point would not help the Weaver tolls, it being impossible to 



278 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION 

re-establish the Eastern export trade on the banks of that river. Moreover, 
even if the Council's position as a guarantor were a reason in favour of its 
procedure, there is an objection which more than counterbalances it. I mean 
that the County Council can only support the action of the Mid-Cheshire 
authorities at the expense of districts controlled by other authorities in the 
same county ; in other words, the great interests of the Runcorn Urban and 
Rural Districts are to be offered up in sacrifice in a vain effort to confer 
benefits upon Xorthwich and \Vinsford ! Further, the Brine Pumping Bill, 
if passed, would confiscate vast amounts of existing property and rights which 
have been enjoyed for thirty years. It would also hamper the future develop- 
ment of salt and chemical manufacture throughout the whole county. I fail 
entirely to see how the Cheshire County Council, or any similar body, can 
possibly justify such proposals. Neither can I believe for a moment nor 
can anyone else who has carefully examined the facts that Parliament will 
sanction legislation embodying the principle of the Bill I do not hesitate 
to assert that if the policy now being pursued by the County Council and 
other Cheshire authorities were generally followed, all private property 
whether of landlords, or tenants, or traders would be seriously jeopardized, 
and 

A SENSE OF INSECURITY ENGENDERED 

which would paralyse enterprise. My opinion, as to the objectionable 
nature of the Bill, is fully shared by various important bodies. I will read 
you a list of those who, in addition to the Salt Union, have petitioned against 
it. They include the Alkali Association, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, 
Liverpool Steamship Owners' Association, Manchester Ship Canal, Mersey 
Docks and Harbour Board, Runcorn Urban Council, Runcorn Rural Council, 
Lord Barrymore, Brunner, Mond & Co., Ltd., Castner-Kellner Alkali Co., 
Ltd., Lever Bros., Ltd., and Mersey Power Co., Ltd. I think, gentlemen, 
we have a right to be highly indignant at the attempt that is being made to 
injure nay, confiscate your existing property in and dependent upon the 
Marbury brine pipe, and to thwart your efforts to preserve a great trade for 
Cheshire and the United Kingdom ; causing, in addition, unnecessary trouble 
to all concerned, and the expenditure of large sums of money to prevent 
interference with the legitimate conduct of our industry. We have adopted, 
I need scarcely add, all the necessary means to protect your interests in this 
matter. To this end we have engaged eminent counsel, and have prepared 
a very strong case against the passing of the Bill. The discussion in com- 
mittee of the House of Lords will not begin, we are informed, until after 
Easter. 

EFFECTS OF LABOUR UNREST. 

In common with so many other traders, proceeded the Chairman, we have 
had to deal with the labour problem, which has affected us both directly and 
indirectly. Our relations with our workmen have always been friendly. 
The general shrinkage of tonnage, however, compared with earlier times, and 
the seasonal nature of our trade in manv respects, cause an exceedingly 
irregular demand for labour. . . . We intimated our willingness to receive a 






A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 279 

deputation, and accordingly met three representatives of the workmen's 
organization. ... A second conference was subsequently held, with the result 
that wages were increased, the advances ranging from one shilling to three 
shillings per week, the three shillings being in regard to those who were 
receiving a very low rate of wages. ... It will interest you to learn that our 
total wages bill amounts to 

FULLY ;2OO,OOO PER ANNUM. 

We are also indirectly affected by the unsettled state of labour in the coal 
world. . . . Whatever the settlement may be that is come to in the next few 
weeks we shall find coal permanently dearer. This will necessitate economy 
in its use in every direction, and still further justifies the Union's adoption 
of coal-saving plants, namely, the vacuum and Mond-gas installations. 

THE INSURANCE ACT 

will further add materially to our burdens. Our accountant tells me that 
it will probably cost us between 3,000 and 4,000 per annum. . . . 
Last year I alluded to the approaching end of 

THE NORTH-WESTERN SALT CO. 

That company was formed, you will remember, five years ago for the purpose 
of regulating prices and outputs, and the arrangement terminated on 3ist 
December last. I regret to say that the strong efforts made for its recon- 
stitution or extension for a further period were unsuccessful. ... In the end, 
seven of the old members (including, of course, the Salt Union) agreed to 
join hands once more, and the British Salt Association, Ltd., was formed. 
This, at all events, has enabled us to conserve many of our important trades, 
especially certain of our export and fishery trades ; and it has even assisted 
the protection of our interests in the home market, to a limited extent. But 
with ten manufacturers outside, there has naturally been active competition 
for the trade, and contracts in many cases have been taken at extremely 
low prices for the current year. . . . 

Looking ahead, I think we may fairly anticipate 

A SATISFACTORY YEAR, 

always assuming, of course, the absence of serious social convulsions or 
prolonged dislocation of trade. A higher cost of manufacture, I am afraid, 
is one of the certainties of 1912, especially as regards salt produced by old- 
style plant, but this will be partly counteracted by favourable results from 
our modern plants. We shall, in 1912, undoubtedly have the advantage of 
a much larger proportion of our salt being produced by the new processes 
than was the case during the past year. 

DR. MCDOUGALL CONGRATULATES THE DIRECTORS. 

Dr. McDougall : Before the resolution is put to the meeting, I should 
like most heartily to congratulate you, sir, and the directors, on the presenta- 
tion of such an admirable report and balance sheet. I have been attending 
the meetings of the Salt Union since its formation, and I have never on a 
previous occasion been more gratified than I have to-day with the hopeful 
and encouraging balance sheet, and also with what you have told us this 



ago A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

afternoon. When saying so much on behalf of the directors and the staff 
of the Company, I cannot but regret as a Cheshire man that the Cheshire 
County Council should in a moment of, shall I say excitement, and want of 
knowledge of the facts, have entered upon a crusade, for that is the only 
word that describes it, against an industry, and in order to prejudice it to 
the extent it has done. . . . One could hardly think it possible that the Cheshire 
County Council should try and handicap a legitimate industry in this way, 
and ask you to be a party to a kind of protection which is unheard of in 
commercial life. I should not have thought it would have been possible, 
having regard to the responsibility of the position and the responsibility of 
the situation, that anybody could have actually been guilty of such a thing. 
.... You say, sir, and you ought to know, that it is impossible to place your 
salt in ship bottoms in the Weaver, or here at the docks at Liverpool, and send 
it to Calcutta except at a loss unless you are going to reduce the cost of 
manufacture, and how can you do that ? The cost of manufacture has to 
be reduced to meet emergencies, and you are to be most highly congratulated 
on having adopted a method that brings about such happy results. The 
vicissitudes of this Company have been very great. It was started on 
inflation, and on one occasion the ship was very nearly stranded, and, to tell 
you the truth, if it had not been for the existing arrangements and the self- 
sacrifice of the directors and their energy in getting the thing to go, the ship 
would have been on the rocks long ago, not merely on the sand, but on the 
actual rocks themselves. I think you have taken 

A WISE AND A PRUDENT COURSE. 

That steps should have been taken to promote a Bill of this kind is utterly 
incomprehensible to any person with a limited knowledge of business 
matters, and to people who have that knowledge it will be still more incon- 
prehensible. I hope that whatever will be done the directors of the Salt 
Union will not lose sight of the interests of their shareholders or of the salt 
industry, and that with such fine works as we have at Weston Point they 
will be able to continue them. 

Mr. William Martland asked what was the reason of the promotion of the 
Cheshire Brine Bill to oppose the Salt Union. 

The Chairman : That is a question I cannot answer. 
Mr. Martland said he understood there was some place at Northwich 
where the brine was pumped. 

The Chairman : Of course, their contention is that the manufacture of 
salt shall take place just where the brine comes up, so that it would occupy 
the labour of the district. Our contention is that the trade can no longer be 
done there for certain parts of the world, and, therefore, it is nonsense to 
talk about employing the labour in Mid -Cheshire. You cannot do it any 
longer, and I tried to make it as clear as I could that if the Weston Point 
works are stopped the trade will simply be lost not only to the Salt Union 
but also to the United Kingdom. 

The resolution was then put to the meeting, and was carried unanimously. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 281 



TWENTY-FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING. 

The Twenty-fourth Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders in the Salt 
Union, Ltd., was held on March i7th, 1913, in the Law Association Rooms, 
Cook Street, Liverpool. Mr. George Henry Cox (Chairman of the Directors) 
presided. 

THE REPORT. 

UNION'S TRADE IN 1912. The quantity of salt delivered by the Union 
was 881,000 tons, as against 875,000 tons in 1911. The increase shown 
would have been much greater but for the coal strike and the protracted 
strike of salt-makers in the Durham district. These strikes affected very 
seriously, both directly and indirectly, the profits of the Company during 
the past year, by interfering with the delivery of salt and largely augmenting 
the price of coal. 

POWER SCHEME. Although the Mersey Power Company only commenced 
to supply electric current early last year, such progress has since been made 
that a good and increasing revenue is now being earned. 

BRINE PUMPING (CHESHIRE) BILL, 1912. This Bill, promoted with a 
view to restricting, in an unprecedented manner, the valuable rights acquired 
by the Company in 1888, was after a lengthy hearing rejected by the Com- 
mittee of the House of Lords. The defence of such vital interests necessarily 
caused a large expenditure. In addition, the costs incurred by the promoters 
have increased the rates in the Cheshire districts, of which a considerable 
share will have to be borne by the Company ; whilst the general public have 
derived no benefit whatever from the action taken by the various authorities. 

MAINTENANCE OF PLANT, &c. The District Managers have certified that 
the respective works, plant in operation, craft and rolling 'stock in their 
several districts have been maintained in good order. 

PROFIT AND Loss ACCOUNT. The net profit amounts 
to 80,146 173. 7d., or, including the balance brought 
forward from 1911, to 84,104 is. lod. From this has to 
be deducted Debenture Interest for the year, 54,000, 
leaving an available balance of . . . . . . . . 30,104 i 10 

Which it is proposed to appropriate as follows : 

To place to General Reserve . . . . . . 15,000 o o 

And to Depreciation Reserve . . . . . . 10,000 o o 

Leaving a balance to be carried forward of .. .. 5.104 i 10 



30,104 i 10 

CHAIRMAN MOVES THE ADOPTION OF THE REPORT. 

The Chairman : Gentlemen, I rise now to move the adoption of the report, 
and in doing so I would like to say that to all those responsible for the conduct 
of the Salt Union's affairs, the year 1912 was a momentous and a very anxious 
one. In common with many other industrial undertakings, we passed 



282 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

through a period of great unrest and of disastrous interference with trade. 
I allude to the national coal strike, which held up the whole industry of the 
country, and also to a strike amongst the salt men in the Middlesbrough 
district, about which I shall speak later on ; and, concurrently, our work was 
rendered more difficult owing to the necessity we were under of preparing 
our case for the defence of your large interests at Weston Point, jeopardized 
by the Brine Pumping (Cheshire) Bill. Not only did the coal strike cause a 
stoppage of production and distribution of salt, but it has resulted in a very 
material increase in the cost of fuel ever since, and I am afraid that we cannot 
look for any substantial reduction for some time to come, nor hope for an 
eventual return to the prices ruling three or four years ago. One of the con- 
sequences of the coal strike and this is a concrete example of the evil effects 
which such an upheaval brings about was in important increase in the 
solar salt imports, namely 21,169 tons, which means that compared with 
191 1 the imports were nearly doubled. We, gentlemen, should have supplied 
the whole of the quantity named had conditions been normal. 

FORECASTING A CERTAINTY. 

At our meeting last year, in attempting to forecast the course of trade 
for 1912, I ventured to predict that one of the certainties was an increase in 
the cost of production. This prophecy, unhappily, has proved only too true ; 
while to make matters worse, the year also saw the break-up of the British 
Salt Association. . . . 

Coal alone, I may tell you, has cost us ^25,000 more than it did in 1911, 
and to-day this is a very significant fact it is over 50 per cent, dearer 
than in 1909, whilst all other stores and materials are up 20 to 30 per cent. 
In addition, wages show an increase of ^7,000 to ^8,000, and recent legislation 
such as the Insurance Act means an extra expense of fully ^2,500 a year 
to us. Nevertheless, I do not hesitate to say that, had we been free from 
the abnormal conditions already referred to, the Company would have 
experienced a considerable increase in tonnage, instead of a small one of 
6,000 tons, and that we should also have been able to record an expansion 
in our net profits. . . . 

THE BRITISH SALT ASSOCIATION. 

You will remember that I spoke at our last meeting of the winding up 
of the North-Western Salt Company, and referred to the formation of a new 
company, namely, the British Salt Association, which was established to 
regulate tonnages and prices. This new company did not contain all the 
members of the salt trade by any means, although it controlled 84 per cent, 
of the tonnage. It had, however, a salutary effect during the year, but as 
those who remained outside persisted in erecting more pans, and in laying 
claim to a larger share of tonnage for the future, the British Salt Association 
was brought to an end on jist December. Since then free competition has 
existed, with the natural result that prices have been materially reduced. 

Imagine the irony of the situation ! Just at a time when the cost of 
production has gone up by leaps and bounds certain manufacturers take it 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 283 

into their heads to increase the quantities produced in an already over- 
stocked market ; and in order to sell, force down the prices. Consumers had 
not asked for any reduction ; indeed, so far as the home trade was con- 
cerned, they were prepared to pay substantial advances. The opportunity 
of securing these, therefore, vanished through the action of those who were 
striving to obtain an unwarrantable share of the trade. Several attempts 
were made before the final break took place to rearrange matters with a view 
of forming another association. To facilitate this we, on our part, were willing 
to accept the same tonnage as before, although we might reasonably have 
claimed a larger quota, in view of the capacity of our new plants for turning 
out large quantities of cheap salt. We did not press that consideration, and 
were ready, for the sake of maintaining good relations in the trade, to con- 
tinue on the old basis. That was also the attitude of several other important 
makers ; the remainder, nevertheless, remained obdurate. Including the 
tonnage claimed by Messrs. Chance & Hunt, who began their work two or 
three years ago in the Midlands, the extra amounts totalled, in round figures, 
100,000 tons. Anxious as we were for peace, we felt that rather than agree 
to this, or even to half of it, it was better to defend our position by a fight, 
for which we are well prepared. 

You know the history of the trade in the past. Gradually the Salt 
Union's share of the total tonnage marketed has been reduced, owing to new 
makers coming into existence and cutting under us. Associations have been 
formed from time to time, and some profits thereby secured. But always, 
at the end of these periods, there has been a demand for a larger share on the 
part of the outsiders. We have felt that we could not allow this process to 
go on indefinitely, and that the time has come, not merely to call a halt, but 
even to claim more of the trade than previously.; and I am sure you will 
support us in the attitude we have taken up. . . 

PROFITABLE EASTERN TRADE. 

As to the Eastern trade, this extremely important branch of the business 
has added appreciably to the profits of the year, and its maintenance is, 
therefore, of great moment. The bulk of our shipments have gone, as 
hitherto, to Calcutta, but we have also sent considerable quantities to 
Chittagong, Rangoon and the Far East. To Calcutta we shipped less than 
in 191 1, owing to freight difficulties occasioned by the coal strike ; whilst the 
rates of freight for tramp steamers have ruled very high, thereby checking 
shipments to other destinations. Consequently we sold less salt in Calcutta 
to the extent of 32,000 tons, and the price realized was also slightly lower. 
To compensate for this, our salt cost much less, as we were able to ship a 
larger proportion of vacuum plant and gas-fired salt than formerly from 
Weston Point. Curiously enough, the total distribution of all kinds of salt 
appears to have fallen off. This is the more unaccountable as India generally 
is prosperous 

This situation emphasizes very forcibly, and I want you particularly to 
note this, the wisdom of our step in establishing the production of vacuum 

w 



284 A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

salt, for export, at Weston Point. Had we not done so, we should inevitably 
have lost our Eastern trade hence the worse than folly of those who 
endeavoured to prevent our extensions there. 

ILL-INFORMED CRITICISM. 

It is desirable that I should say something about our modern plants, and 
particularly concerning those at Weston Point. This is the more necessary, 
as many ill-informed criticisms and prophecies were indulged in, concerning 
them, during the contest over the Brine Pumping Bill in the Lords' Com- 
mittee Room. Moreover, it has come to my knowledge that, of late, extra- 
vagant reports of an adverse character have been current in the Cheshire 
districts as to the working of these plants. I want to assure you that there 
is no truth whatever in these statements, which appear to emanate from 
those who either don't understand the new order or who are unfriendly 
towards the Union. . . . 

THE MERSEY POWER CO. 

The electricity, as you are aware, is partly used for our own purposes, 
as a motive power in connection with the vacuum and the gas-producer 
plants, and in the manufacture of chemicals for purifying brine. The major 
portion of it, however, is dealt with by the Mersey Power Company. That 
company has already disposed of two-thirds of the available supply, at re- 
munerative rates, and is negotiating for the disposal of the remaining third. 
It will interest you to learn that it has laid fifty-five miles of high and low 
tension cables, telephone and service wires, and has erected and equipped 
seven sub-stations. Much delay has occurred in the actual use of the current, 
the general activity of trade preventing prompt delivery of the requisite 
machinery to the Power Company's consumers. The latter are rapidly 
coining on, and a good and increasing revenue is now being derived from 
this source. 

The electrolytic chemical installation has worked without a hitch, and as 
in the case of the vacuum plant, our hopes have been more than fulfilled, 
both with respect to its working and financial results. At Weston Point, it 
only remains for me to refer to the gas-producer plant. That continues to 
yield most excellent returns in every direction, and had it not been for the 
unfortunate interruption occasioned by the coal strike, would have established 

another record I trust that what I have said about our plants will, 

once for all, dispose of the baseless gossip concerning them, which I alluded 
to a few moments ago. 

THE BRINE PUMPING BILL. 

With regard to the Marbury brine pipe, the mischievous agitation I was. 
very much tempted to use a stronger word than mischievous to which I 
have had to refer at previous annual meetings, came to a head with the 
deposit of the Brine Pumping (Cheshire) Bill, 1912. This Bill duly passed its 
second reading in the House of Lords, and a date was fixed for its considera- 
tion in Committee. Had it been carried as originally deposited, it would 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 285 

have confiscated your property at Weston Point, representing an expenditure 
of, say, ^300,000 to ^400,000, because it provided that no brine was to be 
utilized at a greater distance than three miles from the pumping station, a 
limitation which would also have been disastrous to other manufacturers, 
notably Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. It was altogether a monstrous attempt 
to interfere with the natural course of trade. Before it was actually taken 
in Committee the promoters gave notice of a modification, by virtue of which 
a fixed quantity of brine about a fourth of its total capacity was to be 
allowed to go through our pipe ; and they arranged an area in which Messrs. 
Brunner, Mond & Co. could pump to their respective works at distances 
greater than three miles. Even this could not for a moment be entertained, 
and consequently the matter was fought out before the Lords' Committee, 
which was ably presided over by Lord Ribblesdale, who, by the way, made a 
happy remark to our opponents' counsel in the course of the proceedings. 
It was that he thought the Salt Union people were good people struggling 
against adversity. . . 

The array of counsel was a formidable one, and the inquiry lasted for 
eleven days, so that the legal expenses were very heavy. You will have seen 
from the accounts that the total cost to us alone was ^4,683, whilst both our 
Company and Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Co. have to contribute, through the 
local and county rates, to the costs incurred by the promoters. 

After a long and exhaustive inquiry, the Lords' Committee, as you know, 
announced their conclusion, namely, that the Bill could not proceed. And 
so this long-drawn-out, troublesome and expensive agitation received its 
quietus, and I do not think it is likely that the proposal will ever be revived. 
The very fact, however, that traders may be subjected to such attacks 
attacks engineered and led by men who might be expected to take a sound 
and broad view of such matters, and whose interest it should be to foster 
rather than to restrict trade is a disquieting thing. . . . 

THE LABOUR QUESTION. 

Concerning labour, we have had peace in Cheshire and Worcestershire, 
the men there having been in receipt of the advances about which I told you 
last year. In addition, the standing wage of our Cheshire watermen was, 
during the year under review, increased by i /- per week, and their conditions 
of working have been altered in a way which results in considerable further 
expense to us. The strike in Middlesbrough, to which I have already briefly 
referred, was unfortunately a long and obstinate one, lasting some fourteen 
weeks or really sixteen weeks, if we include the fortnight which it took to 
get the works properly under way again. . . . 

We had a number of interviews with the men's representatives, and finally 
it was agreed by all the manufacturers and there are three or four other 
manufacturers in Middlesbrough beside the Salt Union that for the sake 
of peace we should give the salt-makers and firemen an average advance which 
amounts to i /- a week, and, say, i /6 a week to the labourers. 



A HISTORY OF THE SALT UNION. 

THE IMMEDIATE OUTLOOK. 

In conclusion. I am afraid that it cannot be said that the immediate 
outlook for the salt trade is very encouraging, and I shall not attempt to 
forecast the more distant one, though it is not without some favourable 
features. I have already touched in detail upon several aspects of the 
situation, but I wish especially to emphasize this point, viz., that the greatest 
enemy of the trade is the over-production of salt an enemy which is en- 
couraged and permitted to grow within its own borders. It could easily be 
checked, and the evil abolished, if a little self-restraint were exercised on the 
part of certain manufacturers. The Salt Union at all events has endeavoured 
to set a good example in this respect, but hitherto without result. I have 
spoken of the increased demands made recently as amounting to 100,000 tons, 
since the formation of the North-Western Salt Company six years ago ; but 
I regret to say that we have learnt, within the last few days, that further 
additional tonnage is about to be created, resulting from the development 
of a new salt field very favourably situated on the Manchester Ship Canal at 
Lymm. . . 

CONTINUED LABOUR UNREST. 

One other subject I should like to touch upon, as affecting the future, 
and that is the continued unrest of labour. I heartily sympathize with its 
desire to better its conditions, so long as its efforts do not transgress the 
fundamental economic laws. How to really benefit the wage-earners per- 
manently is a very complex problem, and ought to be solved by each industry 
in its own way as far as possible, and with due regard for its peculiar needs. 
What complicates the whole matter is the more recent policy, adopted by 
the great Labour Unions, of the " national " or " sympathetic " strike. This 
inevitably spells loss and ruin to many industries and to vast numbers of 
men men who have had nothing to do with the disputes that led to the 
strike. Such a condition of things is cruel and wasteful beyond measure, 
and must entail irrevocable loss on the public at large. We were placed in 
this position by the national coal strike our artizans were thrown out of 
work ; trade was lost and production made more expensive ; and you get 
no dividends. No management, no foresight, can protect us against such 
happenings. 

The resolution was then put to the meeting and declared carried. 



E. Goodman and Son, The Phoenix Press, North Street, Taunton. 



READY IN DECEMBER. 



BY 

ALBERT F. CALVERT. 

Illustrated with over 200 Photographs, Maps, and Plans. 



Although Salt in Cheshire has been worked for about 2,000 
years, this will be the first volume ever published dealing 
exclusively with that subject. The headings of the following few 
chapters will indicate the field which the book is designed to cover : 

HISTORY OF SALT AND THE SALT DEPOSITS. 

CHEMISTRY OF SALT. 

THE TOP ROCK MINES. 

ROCK SALT MINING. 

AREA OF THE CHESHIRE SALT BEDS. 

TAPPING THE BRINE. 

MANUFACTURE OF SALT. 

SUBSIDENCES IN THE SALT DISTRICTS. 

PARTICULARS OF THE VARIOUS COMPENSATION AND BRINE 
PUMPING BILLS. 

CHESHIRE SALT TRADE. 

RIVER WEAVER NAVIGATION. 

SALT TRADE OF WINSFORD. 

NORTHWICH SALT DISTRICT. 

MIDDLEWICH SALT DISTRICT. 

HEATLEY SALT DISTRICT. 

LAWTON SALT DISTRICT. 

NANTWICH SALT DISTRICT. 

THE SALT UNION. 

THE SALT ASSOCIATION. 

SALT STATISTICS. 

OLD NORTHWICH COURT ROLLS. 

ACTS OF PARLIAMENT RELATING TO SALT. 

OLD DOCUMENTS REFERRING TO SALT. 

PARTICULARS OF THE DE TABLEY SALE IN NORTHWICH, 1826. 



SALT IN CHESHIRE. 




WORKING IN DANGEROUS GROUND AFTER SUBSIDENCE 
AT NORTHWICH. 



SALT IN CHESHIRE. 




SALT IN CHESHIRE. 




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SALT IN CHESHIRE. 




SALT IN CHESHIRE. 




SALT IN CHESHIRE. 



CHESHIRE SALT DISTRICT. 
SKETCH PLAN SHOWING LOCKED-UP BRINE LANDS MAINLY 

OWNED, OCCUPIED, LEASED OR RETAINED BY 
THE SALT UNION LTD. AND BRUNNER, MONO &.Co. LTD. 




SALT IN CHESHIRE. 




IN PREPARATION. 



SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD 

BY 

ALBERT F. CALVERT. 

Profusely Illustrated with Photographs, Maps, and Plans. 



THIS work will give particulars of the principal Salt Deposits of 
the World and the various methods of manufacturing Salt, and is 
intended to form a companion volume to " Salt in Cheshire." 
Full and complete statistics will be included, and special chapters 
will be devoted to the following countries and districts: Ireland, 
Middlesbrough, Droitwich, Isle of Man, France, Spain, Portugal, 
Germany, Italy, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Roumania, Turkey, 
Canada, United States of America, Central America, South America, 
Africa, India, Arabia ; Persia, China, Japan, Australia, &c. 



SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD. 




DIAGRAM OF THE DCNCRUE SALT MINE, MAIDEN MOUNT, 
CARRICKFERGVS, IRELAND, SHOWING THE I2O FT. BEDS 

OF ROCK SALT. (From an old print.) 



SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD. 




SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD. 




SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD. 




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2 



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11 



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SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD. 




SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD. 




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SALT DEPOSITS OF THE WORLD. 




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